Women farmers step into limelight at reception 31 Carroll residents honored for contributions to agricultural life

March 08, 1996|By Lisa T. Hill | Lisa T. Hill,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

For generations, farm women have been the unsung heroines, quietly forming the foundation for Carroll's agricultural growth.

Yesterday, 31 such women were honored at a reception for "Women in Agriculture: Yesterday and Today" at Carroll Community College -- all timed to coincide with Women's History Month.

"Agriculture is what the county is most renowned for," said Kay Shattuck, coordinator of the RENEW Program for displaced homemakers at CCC and a member of the Women in Agriculture Committee. "We said, 'Well, we'll put it out and see if it flies.' It's exciting to see how responsive people have been."

"These women have owned farms and been involved with all aspects of the agribusiness, worked with their husbands in the fields, worked with youths, have been involved with various farming organizations, and of course did all the cooking, washing and cleaning," said Sherry Glass, director of Student Support Services at CCC. "[Reading the nomination forms] was an educational experience for the committee."

Peggy Soper, caretaker of the Agriculture Center, said the women honored represent "strong, active leadership."

"This is an excellent group of ladies," she said. "This is the backbone of the farming operation that never got in the limelight."

"They say that behind every man there is a woman," said Mildred Stine of Keysville, one of the honorees and a speaker at the reception. "And occasionally she gets pushed to the front."

Jean Knill of Mount Airy contributes to agriculture through educational activities, going to classrooms and having people come to her farm.

For 13 years, Ms. Knill, 56, has coordinated Farm Day at Carroll County schools and for three years has coordinated its replacement, Ag Fest. She has also served on the Maryland Ag Education Foundation Board and the Carroll County Farm Bureau.

"I feel it's an honor to be recognized in this way along with the other women," she said. "It's important for our livelihood."

Beth Stambaugh, who lives between Westminster and New Windsor, also contributes to agriculture through education. She owns Hodgepodge Portable Petting Farm, which she takes to schools, retirement homes and businesses to educate people about farm life.

Ms. Stambaugh, 32, owns a horse farm where she boards and trains horses and teaches riding. Several of her students and her 12-year-old daughter Toni help with the petting farm.

She said this honor "came at an interesting time" because 4-H, with which her business is involved, is facing severe county budget cuts.

"Agriculture and 4-H work hand in hand," she said. "It interests young people in agriculture. I can't imagine the county without 4-H."

Richard and Diana Flickinger of Union Bridge operate a stein dairy cattle farm. Mrs. Flickinger, 42, said it is more difficult today for young or new farmers to get into the business, mostly for financial reasons.

Owning and operating their own business is important to the Flickingers.

"I also enjoy the rewards, challenges and opportunities agriculture brings," said Mrs. Flickinger, who has been involved with Ag Days in the Mall for its nine years of existence.

"I am very flattered," she said about being honored.

"Women have made significant contributions throughout history that have often gone unnoticed and unrewarded and against adverse situations," said Nan Booth, associate director for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service. "The women we are honoring are from a long line of strong, creative women."

The "Women in Agriculture" program was created only for this year, but because of the great response, Ms. Shattuck said it "would be something to talk about for next year."

"I think this is only the tip of the iceberg," she said. "Many more women could be nominated next year."

Pub Date: 3/08/96

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