Photo Contest Winner Shares Her Family’s Story

A farmer reveals the story behind the image that won the #NotAfraidtoWork photo contest.
Cristen Clark (right) and her dad, Rodger
Cristen Clark (right) and her dad, Rodger, prepare for a busy day on the family farm.
As a young girl growing up on a farm, Cristen Clark never had to learn how to work hard; it was second nature. For seven generations, her family has farmed the same land in Runnels, Iowa, where they raise pigs and cattle and grow corn and soybeans.

It’s these strong generational ties to agriculture that also led Clark to become a prize-winning photographer. Recently, the photo she snapped in 2015 of her 4-year-old son, Barrett, and her dad, Rodger, during a rare break from farm work, placed first in the Syngenta #NotAfraidtoWork photo contest.

“Usually, we’ll wait for a rainy day to take a break during harvest,” Clark says, “but we had no rainy days last fall and were way ahead of schedule. The afternoon I took that photo, my dad turned off the combine early so we could enjoy each other’s company.”

Clark first learned about the Syngenta #NotAfraidtoWork photo contest in a tweet from “Dirty Jobs” star Mike Rowe. His unwavering support of agriculture and passion for hard work inspired Syngenta to partner with his nonprofit organization, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, as part of the company’s introduction of Trivapro® fungicide.

“Like millions of American farmers, Trivapro works hard, delivering long-lasting disease protection in corn, soybeans and wheat,” says Andrew Fisher, fungicide product lead at Syngenta. “The #NotAfraidToWork contest was a chance for us to launch Trivapro and celebrate farmers, including Cristen and her dad, who work from dawn to dark with drive, endurance and grit.”

Farmer reveals her story behind the winning image in the #NotAfraidtoWork photo contest.

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Kicked off at the 2015 Farm Progress Show, the #NotAfraidToWork photo contest encouraged growers to submit images that depicted what not being afraid to work meant to them. In return, Syngenta would reward the winner with a $2,000 gift card to use for fun after an exhausting season. Additionally, every time someone mentioned the contest on social media, Syngenta donated $5 to the National FFA Foundation through Rowe’s foundation.

In the end, the donation to help future growers totaled $10,000, and the contest generated hundreds of submissions, with Clark’s photo receiving the most online votes.

To Clark, her photo portrays the strength that has allowed her family to continue farming for multiple generations. It also captures the special bond between her father and her son.

“Those two share a love of anything farming,” she says. “My dad is the strong silent type who never quits until the job is done and done right. That’s the essence of being not afraid to work, which is vital to the success of my family’s future.”

In between all the hard work a farm demands, relishing the small moments—like the one depicted in her winning photo—is also important, Clark notes. She plans on using her prize winnings to install a basketball goal for her children to help them better understand the importance of balancing work and leisure. “Sometimes you have to stop and take the time to appreciate one another,” she says. “We’re all trying to get better at that.”

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