Karen Plaut kicked off Purdue University Extension’s portion of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Celebration of Agriculture recently by underscoring the rise in participation of women in ag over the years. That led up to recognizing three women involved in agriculture.
“About 60% of our students are women today, and that’s a drastic change from earlier days,” noted Plaut, Purdue dean of the College of Agriculture. She said just under half of the college’s graduate students today are women, as well.
Jason Henderson, director of Extension at Purdue, added that Purdue Extension has recognized women in agriculture annually for several years. “This year we added a new award: the Emerging Women in Agriculture Leadership Award,” he says. “We want to recognize young women who have already showed outstanding leadership ability in agriculture.”
The three women recognized this year were Madelyn Zimmerman, Kosciusko County, Emerging Women in Agriculture Leadership Award; Natasha Cox, Benton County, Women in Agriculture Leadership Award; and Bec Wicker, Rush County, Women in Agriculture Achievement Award.
Madelyn Zimmerman. This high school graduate from Milford excelled in 4-H and FFA activities and was a leader in presenting the Food for America program to 550 second graders in her area through FFA. She has been active as a young leader in the Purdue Women in Agriculture Conference and obtained a grant from ISDA at a very young age.
Natasha Cox. Cox and her husband, Brent, farm in Benton County. She is also regional manager for Farm Credit Mid-America in northwest Indiana. She serves on both the Ivy Tech and Purdue ag advisory boards, as well. Cox credits the Purdue Women in Agriculture Conference program with helping her find her place in agriculture.
Tom J. Bechman
OUTSTANDING LEADER: Natasha Cox received the Women in Agriculture Leadership Award and shared comments with the audience gathered at ISDA’s recent Celebration of Agriculture.
Bec Wicker. Those who know Wicker best describe her as a lifelong promoter of agriculture and a quiet, diligent, influential leader. She and her husband raised a family while transitioning the farm to meet changing economic conditions during their farming careers. Wicker has served on both the Indiana and National Holstein association boards.