“Where she has a will, she finds a way.”
That’s how Mary Courtney’s husband Shane describes her. Courtney and her husband are first-generation farmers in Kentucky, on a diverse operation that raises corn, soybeans, burley tobacco, cattle and a variety of vegetable crops.
Mary Courtney isn’t just a full-time farmer, either. She is also the director of a multistate ag lender and mother of four. Her hard work has been recognized as the 2016 America’s Farmers Mom of the Year Contest from Monsanto.
“We began our farming operation from scratch in 2008, the same year we welcomed our first son,” Shane says. “It is with tenacity and fortitude [that] she taught herself payroll taxes, manages a crew of 18 migrant workers, plans, produces and markets an abundance of local fruits and vegetables, contracts grain, and teaches the oldest children to bottle feed calves while the youngest is in tow.”
Mary and four other women were recognized at the end of April as regional finalists of the America’s Farmers Mom of the Year Contest. Online votes at www.AmericasFarmers.com from April 22 to May 4 determined the winner. The other regional finalists include Ann Stamp (Rhode Island), Karen Kasper (Minnesota), Katie Heger (North Dakota) and Nikki Weathers (Coloratdo). Finalists were selected by American Agri-Women and Monsanto and will receive $5,000. Courtney receives an additional $5,000 as the top vote-getter.
“I had the fortunate opportunity to meet all of these women in person, and their energy and passion for their families, communities and agriculture is absolutely inspiring,” says Tracy Mueller, corporate brand manager for Monsanto. “They love talkinga bout their lives and their farming lifestyle, yet they are so humble about their invaluable role. We can’t wait for everyone to learn more about what they do and how they’re making a positive difference in farming today.”
Mary is active in the Kentucky Farm Bureau. She’s also a strong advocate for agriculture, highlighted by a “Touch the Dirt Day” event on her farm where consumers learn about agriculture firsthand. She also works on various ag literacy efforts and guides local cooperative Extension.
To learn more about Mary or any of the 2016 regional winners, visit www.AmericasFarmers.com.