Shelby Watson Hampton Selected as #RootedinAg Contest Winner

Learn more about the grand prizewinner and how her agricultural roots are helping her thrive.

Shelby Watson
Shelby Watson Hampton, winner of the 2016 Thrive #RootedinAg contest, spends time on her family’s farm and vineyard in Brandywine, Maryland. Photo: Edwin Remsberg
Based on the quality of her entry and the number of online votes, Shelby Watson Hampton is the grand prizewinner of the 2016 Thrive #RootedinAg contest.
Shelby and Wade Watson Hampton and her aunt and uncle, Susan and Bob White
Shelby Watson Hampton (second from left), her husband Wade (far left) and her aunt and uncle, Susan and Bob White, break ground on a farm renovation project, in which they’re converting a tobacco barn into a winery.
Hampton farms with her family on their fourth-generation family farm, Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards, located in Brandywine, Maryland. She is also an agricultural marketing specialist for the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

In addition to the mini touch-screen tablet that she, along with four other deserving finalists, received earlier in the competition, Hampton has won a $500 gift card. Syngenta also will make a $1,000 donation in her name to the BadenStrong Team, part of the Brandywine-Baden Out of the Darkness Walk, which benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

“I'm choosing this charity because it’s something that has deeply affected my family, our friends and our small rural town many times,” Hampton says. “As a community, we joined the AFSP and formed a local chapter and walk team. We then started our own Out of the Darkness Walk in our area to help shed light on the issues surrounding mental health and suicide. We hope to reach out to those who are suffering and their families to help make a positive difference in the world around us.”

Syngenta congratulates Hampton and thanks everyone who took the time to tell Thrive how their agricultural roots are helping them, their families and their communities thrive. Syngenta also thanks the thousands of people who cast votes for their favorite finalist.

Details on the 2017 #RootedinAg competition will be coming to this website soon. But for now, please enjoy Hampton’s heartfelt essay below.

My Agricultural Roots
By Shelby Watson Hampton

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 FFA students and young farmers, I would not have had the skills to strive to become a helpful and effective member in our community without my agricultural roots.

Shelby Watson and her grandmother, aunts and cousin
Shelby Watson Hampton (foreground) gets ready for pruning season on her family’s farm and vineyard with three generations of women: (clockwise, from far left) her aunt, Connie Watson Garner; her cousin, Sydney Hardy; her grandmother, Shirley Watson; and her aunt, Susan Watson White.