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Iowan Honored As Midwest 'Farm Mom Of The Year'

Iowan Honored As Midwest 'Farm Mom Of The Year'

April Hemmes of Hampton, Iowa, is Midwest region winner in Monsanto's America's Farmers Program. She was honored July 15 at the 2011 Franklin County Fair.

April Hemmes of Hampton, Iowa, has been selected as Midwest region winner in Monsanto's America's Farmers Mom of the Year contest. She is one of five regional winners selected by American Agri-Women and Monsanto based on an essay submitted on her behalf by her daughter.

In being presented this award, Hemmes was recognized for her contributions to her family, farm and community, as well as the leadership roles she has taken to promote agriculture. Monsanto awarded her $5,000 in prize money, and presented the check in an awards ceremony July 15 at the Franklin County Fair.  

Five regional winners were selected for this annual award in 2011

There were five regional winners for 2011: Kerri Vander Poel, Bakersfield, Calif.; April Hemmes, Hampton, Iowa; Teresa Chambers, Macon, Ga.; Bette Lu Lerwick, Albin, Wyo. and Jennie Schmidt, Sudlersville, Md.

Monsanto's America's Farmers Mom of the Year is an extension of the America's Farmers program, which celebrates the contributions of farmers who provide food, energy and clothing for a growing planet. Visit to read about the Mom of the Year contest and other ways Monsanto recognizes the hard work and contributions of American farmers.

You can also click on to read April's nomination as submitted by her 16-year-old daughter, Ruth.

Overall winner in the 2011 contest is a farm woman from Wyoming

Bette Lu Lerwick, Albin, Wyo., is the overall winner of the contest as Monsanto's America's Farmers Mom of the Year 2011. Lerwick was nominated for the America's Farmers Mom of the Year by her daughter, Kosha Olsen, who visited the website earlier this spring and submitted a 300-word nomination describing a few of the contributions her mother makes to her family, farm, community and the agricultural industry.

Lerwick was selected as the Northwest Region's Farm Mom of the Year by a panel of judges from American Agri-Women and Monsanto. Her nomination was then posted to, along with those of the four other regional winners'. Online voting determined Lerwick the national winner.

"This is a wonderful privilege and I feel honored to be the 2011 Farm Mom of the Year when there are so many deserving farm moms out there," said Lerwick. "I am proud to be from Wyoming and I'm excited to bring recognition to this wonderful state." Ron and Bette Lu Lerwick, in partnership with son, Monte, and his wife, Megan, raise wheat, corn, dryland beans, hay, sunflowers and beef cattle on the high plains of their centennial ranch in southeastern Wyoming.

Family farms remain viable because of farm women such as these

"What does it take to plant a garden the size of a townhouse, or a square mile of sunflowers?" asked Kosha Olsen in her nomination. "How do you raise teenagers 60 miles from the nearest fast food?" Kosha outlined a few of the ways her mother supports others – from serving as "event planner, caterer, custodian, hired hand and manager" at home to driving the tractors, baking bread and delivering calves on the farm to having served as EMT for the rural volunteer fire department and attending many community memorial services in the community. In addition, Bette Lu and Ron Lerwick have welcomed exchange students and at-risk youths to their farm for months at a time.

"The best way to educate consumers about agriculture is to share your story and your lifestyle with them," Kosha wrote. "Mom has always opened her home to those interested in agriculture. Family farms remain viable because of American farm moms like mine."

All five regional winners won a $5,000 cash prize from Monsanto. Lerwick  received an additional $2,500 from the company for winning the national title.

"Not only are women often the backbone of their family farm, but they are also passionate spokespeople for the agricultural industry," says Chris Chavis, Monsanto's America's Farmers Mom of the Year spokesperson. "These winners exemplify the impact one woman can have, extending from her family throughout the community and on to consumers from other regions of the country."

Additional information about Monsanto's America's Farmers Mom of the Year program is available at

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