Perry County has a strong female presence in agriculture. A 2012 census of agriculture in Perry County showed 63 farms where women were the principal operators.
The farms totaled just over 10,000 combined acres and had a market value of products sold (between crop sales and livestock) of $630,000.
The Perry County Soil and Water Conservation District has been supporting an annual Women in Agriculture Tour since 2004. The first seven events were joint tours with the Cape Girardeau County Soil and Water Conservation District. The annual tours were such a success that in 2011, the two districts had to hold independent events. Perry County’s Women in Ag Tour averages 80 attending women.
The Missouri State Fair will be celebrating women in agriculture by offering free gate admission for women of all ages on Aug. 20. Specials will be offered for women at select concessions and vendors, and the free Missouri Travel Council Celebrating Women showcase will be held in Lowell Mohler Assembly Hall.
There will also be a ceremony honoring this year’s outstanding female agriculturalists. Missouri State Fair Director Mark Wolfe announced two outstanding female agriculturalists, selected in a third annual contest sponsored by Monsanto.
Dr. Linda Hickam of Thompson received the contest title of Missouri Woman in Agriculture, and Ashley Bauer of Warrenton received the title of Missouri Woman in Agriculture Rising Star. These women will be honored at the Fair on Thursday, Aug. 20.
“The Missouri Woman in Agriculture Contest allows the State Fair to honor Missouri women’s significant contributions to agriculture,” Wolfe said. “Both winners will direct a $1,000 cash donation from Monsanto to a nonprofit agriculture-related organization of her choice. We are thankful for Monsanto’s continued partnership on this contest and for the monetary donation on behalf of these deserving women. “
Dr. Hickam, the winner of the 31 year old and over age division, currently serves as the State Veterinarian and Animal Health Division Director.
She has been involved with the Missouri State Fair as the State Veterinarian and has exhibited cattle with her family. She serves as advisor for the Junior Charolais Association, and runs a Charolais farm in Thompson with her family. The Junior Charolais Association is the agriculture-related beneficiary of the $1,000 donation sponsored by Monsanto.
Miss Bauer, winner of the 18-30 year old age division, is a senior at William Woods University studying Business Administration and Equine General Studies.
In the past, she has shown horses at the annual 4-H and FFA horse shows, and served as the 2013 Missouri State Fair Queen. Miss Bauer frequently volunteers at the TREE House of Greater St. Louis and has chosen it as her agriculture-related beneficiary of the $1,000 donation sponsored by Monsanto.
Receiving second in the 31 year old and over age division was Deanna Thies of Columbia.
Receiving second in the 18-30 year old age division was Taylor Loges of Sweet Springs.
These women will receive plaques for their efforts, and all participants in the contest will receive certificates of acknowledgement in a special reception to be held in their honor Thursday, Aug. 20.
The 113th Missouri State Fair, themed “Show Offs Welcome!” will be held Aug. 13-23 in Sedalia. For more information about concerts, events and other Fair activities, visit www.mostatefair.com, follow the Fair on Facebook and Twitter, or call 1-800-422-FAIR (3247).