How many can say: “I love my job”? How many begin to cry when they tell their bosses it’s time to retire? Well, that’s me!
My journey began March 3, 1980 as receptionist and secretary. We were a regional office for the American Soybean Association handling two membership associations, one state checkoff and acting as advisor to five states.
Upon passage of the national soybean checkoff program in the 1990 Farm Bill, I was promoted to Administrative Assistant. Things changed in our office at that time – we began handling just one membership association, started handling two checkoffs and were advisors to three boards.
In 1995, I was promoted to Executive Director of the Maryland Soybean Board and the Pennsylvania Soybean Board. We no longer handled membership and began focusing on education, promotion, communication and research projects with two checkoff boards.
In 2006, I was approached by the Delaware Soybean Board to be their Financial/Compliance Coordinator and gladly accepted along with my position with the Maryland and Pennsylvania Soybean Boards.
In 2010, the Pennsylvania Soybean Board was able to open an office in Pennsylvania with new staff. Since that time, I have remained Executive Director of the Maryland Soybean Board and Financial/Compliance Coordinator for the Delaware Soybean Board.
As I reflect on the past 37 years, I have seen many changes. To name just a few: the price that a farmer receives for their commodity has increased but so has their cost of production – fuel, cost of seed, cost of fertilizer, etc.; new technology that has helped them produce their crops in a more efficient, environmentally sound and cost effective way; thousands of new uses developed from biodiesel (environmentally friendly fuel) to soy crayons (first breakthrough in crayons in 100 years – replacing petroleum used in making crayons to using soy oil).
More importantly, I have seen a lot of things that have not changed: Our farmers’ love of the land – land that is their heritage and will be their legacy to their children and their children’s children. Our farmers’ hard work ethic – working from sun up to sun down. Remember they are not guaranteed a paycheck – one drought year or one hurricane can cost them everything for that year! Our farmers’ dedication to produce the best food for America and the world. Remember they feed their families too and would do nothing to harm them or you!
So as you travel the back roads in your community and see the wide open fields with crops growing or look out an airplane window and see the vast odd shaped fields – say a little prayer and thank God for our farmers.
I may be retiring but I will always be a strong advocate for our farmers.