Vote for Your Favorite #RootedinAg Contest Finalist
Now, we need your vote to help us determine who will be the grand prizewinner of a $500 gift card. Also at stake is a $1,000 donation from Syngenta to the winner’s favorite local charity or civic group.*
Please vote for the entry you think is most deserving. Online voting ends Sept. 15, 2016, with Syngenta announcing the grand prizewinner in October.
*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. See Official Rules for more details.
Shelby Watson Hampton from Brandywine, Maryland
I'm blessed to be able to say that my family's roots in agriculture go back many generations and are steeped in the rich tradition of hard work, faith, family and farming. Currently, there are four generations on our family farm, and my grandparents taught us all that to take care of the land, our community and each other is what is most important in this life. Side by side, we have survived and thrived together, through good times and bad, by living the family motto of “Work hard, play hard and treat others well.”
These strong agricultural and family values not only gave us deep roots in the community, but they also gave us wings to soar on, as we worked toward building our futures, both on and off the farm. If it weren’t for my agricultural roots, I would not have had the tenacity to grow wings and to take a more active part in my larger community. From working at the Maryland Department of Agriculture, to being an active member of our state Farm Bureau and county Soil Conservation District, to supporting upcoming FFA and Young Farmers, I would not have had the skills to strive to become a helpful and effective member in our community if it weren’t for my strong agricultural roots.
Michelle Miller from Monona, Iowa
I run a blog and Facebook page to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers. This is something I'm very passionate about because I was once a big-city girl who feared her food and was really disconnected from how food was produced. I lived in Chicago and Los Angeles and thought that unless I was buying organic, I was eating all kinds of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, etc. But now I realize this couldn't be further from the truth. I gave up fast food for nearly three years. I met my boyfriend back in 2010 and moved to Iowa for love, where I have learned everything I once believed was wrong!
We farm row crops, cattle and sheep together, and I now advocate for the truth in the ag industry. What started as a hobby has really made a difference! I have become involved in the local community and also do some writing and public speaking, where I work to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers. Our food is not scary. Marketing tactics can be misleading or not truthful, and it's important for consumers to understand this. We have the safest and most abundant food supply in the world! By sharing the story of agriculture to the general public, I now have more than 24,000 followers and feel it's very important for farmers to reach out and tell our story—what we do and why.
Watch Michelle's video submission >
Cale Plowman from Douds, Iowa
Six generations ago, my roots started on our Iowa family farm. I currently farm with my father and have two little boys who are beside us doing everything we do. With every generation comes change, whether it is in the form of land growth, new equipment or the latest technology. But I have come to realize that no matter what progress or change is made to our farm, it all is done for the same reasons when our roots first started.
My father—as many did before him—strives to make this ever-changing farm ready to be passed down to the next generation. I am also changing the farm so my two sons can have the opportunity to come back to their roots. Our small rural community is full of stories like mine, and together our roots will allow us to not only feed the United States, but the world.
Doug Rohrer from Palmyra, Pennsylvania
I am blessed to be leading our fourth-generation family seed business. Growing up with my father working in the business, I overlooked the long-standing, vital role that our company has played in our community. I came back to work in the business after college and rediscovered the importance of our small seed company through the eyes of our customers, family members, employees and community. The previous generations worked hard to build great trust in providing quality seeds at a fair price, and now people rely upon us as the go-to source for their gardens, farms and lawns. I see myself as having been entrusted with a great stewardship that has an impact on myself, my family and my community.
Growing up, I used to work in the garden for my parents and grandparents, but now I have a passion to provide healthy fruits and vegetables for my family. I am fortunate to have easy access to seeds and to education on how to grow those seeds successfully. That has spilled over to bringing my three children out with me into the dirt and getting a firsthand understanding of where our food comes from. As I see the impact on my family, I have realized the needs in our community. We have partnered with many community gardens, mission organizations, food banks and local charities to support them out of our abundance.
William Tabb from Eupora, Mississippi
I am a third-generation farmer. My family’s deep agricultural roots have helped me in all aspects of my life. My farming background has kept me humble and taught me the value of hard work. There is not much more rewarding than seeing your children and corn flourish in the soil you grew up on. I farm on my own with my wife but owe my farm knowledge to my father. I still go to him for guidance and am lucky to have a strong male role model like him.
My farm has allowed me many relationships with the community. I am partnered with a local university and local high school vocational center. I love being able to share my farming knowledge and gain knowledge from others. My wife and I are also very active in my local farm bureau. I think our farm bureau connections have placed us a step above most farmers in helping us better share our stories and become advocates for agriculture.