Charleston, WV (WOAY) – The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) has announced the recipients of the 2022 West Virginia Women in Agriculture Awards. The West Virginia Women in Agriculture (WIA) program celebrates and recognizes the achievements of past and present female farmers. WVDA will hold a reception at the West Virginia State Fair on Sunday, August 14, at 2:00 pm.
The 2022 WIA recipients are:
Violet Maston – Jackson County
Violet grew up on a dairy farm in Upshur County. She joined 4-H and FFA and started raising sheep for her FFA project. That flock helped put her through college. Today, Violet grows and sells cut flowers at Sweet Violet Farm in Leroy, WV. She has over 50 varieties she markets through direct sales, bouquet subscriptions, farmers’ markets, and local florists. Violet has honored her parents by improving the family farm and passing on the love of agriculture to her two children. Her son owns his farm, and her daughter is pursuing an agri-business degree. Violet says, “Do what you love. You have to love it to be successful!”
Genevieve May – Grant County
Genevieve has been a farm girl all her life. From an early age, she drove the work horses through the fields to gather the hay shocks and walked behind the plow to cover the seeds. Genevieve and her husband own May Farm and manage 50 stock cows (Hereford and Angus), laying chickens and hair sheep. She taught her children and grandchildren the importance of farming, canning, and preserving food from the farm to the kitchen. She encouraged them to join 4-H and FFA and helped with numerous projects from leaf collections to market lambs. She has been a mentor to many, supporting and educating about the importance of agriculture and life skills like sewing on a button. “Do what you love, and love what you do,” stresses Genevieve.
Brandy Brabham – Roane County
Brandy is the WVU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent in Roane County. She conducts risk management, leadership, and advocacy training, as well as Extension methods for crops, agribusiness development, and marketing. She is a member of the WV Women in Agriculture team. She has served on many state conference planning committees, including the Small Farm Conference, Farm Opportunities Day, and the inaugural WV Women in Agriculture Conference. She and her family raise beef cattle, hay, and honeybees. They also have a high tunnel and a small backyard flock of chickens from which they market eggs. Brandy emphasizes, “Follow your passion in all your agricultural pursuits, and you will realize success!”
Jodi Richmond – Summers County
Jodi has served Mercer County for 19 years as a WVU Extension Agent with a primary focus on increasing the profitability and sustainability of small farming operations by providing educational programming in production, agricultural business management, and food safety. Jodi has a passion for teaching youth about ag literacy, school gardens, and kids’ farmers’ markets. She has a B.S. in Animal Science and an M.S. in Education, both from Virginia Tech. However, she admits neither degree prepared her for the finer points of her job, including chasing runaway goats at the fair, identifying snakes left on her desk, or explaining to clients that it is not safe to can in the dishwasher. Jodi tells adults and children, “Don’t be afraid to try or fail. You will learn far more from things that don’t work than from things that work well the first time.”