Did you know that one third of the farmers in the United States today are women? Here in North Carolina the fastest growing group of farmers are female.
The National Women in Agriculture Association is a national network with the mission to save lives and eliminate poverty by increasing the availability of fresh, locally grown foods while expanding economic opportunities. Women in Food & Agriculture is another group with the aim to make a measurable positive impact on gender diversity across the global food and agricultural industry. The NCSU & NCA&T Cooperative Extension has a focused initiative on female farmers and has numerous resources available to female farmers too.
Bringing it to an even more local level, meet Ada Jones. She is the two-year-old daughter of Daniel and Morgan Jones. Ada is a natural farmer. The family operates a roadside stand in the Leasburg community where they sell their farm grown mums and pumpkins. At a visit on a recent Saturday, not only were the Jones’ there, but their two-year-old Ada, was there assisting customers and showing us that it is never too soon to begin teaching the young the value of working in agriculture.
Morgan, a Registered Nurse by trade and her husband, Daniel, Chief Operator at the Person County water plant, live in Leasburg and are fifth generation farmers where they are carrying on the tradition of cultivating and appreciating the love of the land. Morgan participated in the FFA for years in high school and Daniel’s father is an agriculture instructor in Person County, so the couple certainly have agriculture in their bones. But just because parents are involved in agriculture doesn’t always mean the children will be too. It takes a concentrated and intentional effort to instill a positive attitude of agriculture, love of the land and respect of the dedication of family members gone before, that really helps cultivate the next generation into this important field.
Morgan shared that as she was out working to grow the numerous chrysanthemums that lined the shelves on the porch of the small roadside cabin, little Ada began to follow her out to the field on a kids ‘John Deere Gator’. There, without any direction began to follow along with her mother. She would follow her mom’s example as she transferred the mulch and transplanted the mums.
When the couple would head out to the garden for fresh produce, Ada also followed along and participated in the harvesting of the vegetables. She helped her mom make fresh salsa with the tomatoes they grew. Ada also found the corn on the cobb they grew to be one of her very favorites.
In Caswell, the love of the land is certainly something that many appreciate. Although there are ups and downs in the agriculture lifestyle, the love and appreciation of connecting with the land runs so deep here. Caswell County is still filled with so many small family farms just waiting for someone to once again show interest and make it into a productive opportunity. It is inspiring to see a young family like the Jones well on the way to preserving the love of agriculture in their growing family.
Opportunities in agriculture continue to be a leading option here in Caswell. As agritourism becomes more prevalent, new and specialty crops are explored, the growth of our local farmers market and the up-and-coming Center for Educational and Agriculture Development (CEAD), all demonstrate the commitment to agriculture in Caswell as a whole and will provide many new opportunities for small farmers to thrive.
As published in The Caswell Messenger 10-20-21