If there was ever anyone deserving of the title of Farm Mom of the Year, it’s Susan Brocksmith, Vincennes. She’s not only a partner on the farm with her husband, Mike, but also a mom to two successful young ladies. She also chairs the agribusiness program at Vincennes University.
Brocksmith was first named Monsanto’s Northeast Region Farm Mom of the Year. Then she captured the national title. In an exclusive interview with Indiana Prairie Farmer, Brockmsith explains what she has learned from this experience.
Susan, how did you get nominated for this award? Both my husband, Mike, and my daughters submitted information to the selection committee. They wrote 300-word essays in their own words.
Since this contest was about recognizing moms, tell us about your daughters. Victoria is 25, and Casandra is 24. Mike and I are quite proud of them. Victoria just completed her third year of medical school through Indiana University, based in Indianapolis. Casandra graduated in May from St. Louis University with a master’s degree. She hopes to find a job and help on the farm. Casanadra likes working outside with Mother Nature. Perhaps she will take over the farm operation someday.
What did you learn from the experience of being named Farm Mom of the Year? The national selection process was based solely on who received the most votes in the social media poll. What it shows me is that agriculture has lots of power in social media when it wants to get a message out. My husband sent out numerous emails asking people to support me. I’m a sponsor for Collegiate FFA and Collegiate Farm Bureau at VU. Those groups were very active in getting people motivated to vote.
You received some money from Monsanto. What will you do with those funds? When I was named a regional winner, I received $2,000 for a charity. I donated it to our local food pantry since they’re trying to start a community garden. I also received $3,000, and I used it to pay the rest of my fare to go to Kenya later this year. When I was named national farm mom, I received another $2,000 for charity. I split it between the North Knox and South Knox FFA chapters.
What is the Kenya trip about? Myself and a few others from this area are going to Africa through a group called Foundation for Peace. We will be helping add a second story to a church, plus providing programming and also providing medical help while we are there.
I went on a similar mission effort to the Dominican Republic a few years ago. It’s an opportunity to help people.
What are your duties at Vincennes University? I chair the agribusiness program. Fifteen students just graduated through our new four-year degree program. I get great satisfaction from working with our students. I watch them grow from timid freshmen to professionals who are more knowledgeable, and ready for the next step in life.