Women 4 Ag

September 16, 2010

Gayla — with  her shoulder-length curls and awesome purple cowgirl boots — greeted me when I arrived a the Agriland booth at the Kansas State Fair. I was volunteering for the Kansas Agri-Women, one of several groups that sponsor the booth.

Gayla squeezed my elbow, looked me deeply in the eyes, thanked me for joining and for helping out, then said, “Let’s go find a spot for your purse.” Loved it. She embodied what I admire about many I meet in agriculture — warmth, simplicity, authenticity and always being ready for a hard day’s work, no matter where they are.

She introduced me to a long-time leader of the group — who is still active in the organization at 80 years old. I took over at her station, a scale where kids could be weighed and then compared to a farm commodity.  The kids loved hearing they weighed as much as a baby calf (about 75 pounds) or were only a few pounds shy of a bushel of corn (56 pounds). Surprisingly, parents and teachers joined in.

The booth was loaded with other hands-on activities — a combine cab, buckets full of seed, a soil tunnel, even Blossom, the full-sized cow with her squeezable udder. (“Squeeze, don’t pull,” the sign read.)

It was a fun day of answering questions and listening to stories. Gayla’s grandson stopped by. I’m sure the little boy, who was barely walking, has a limited vocabulary, but he exclaimed, “Big. Cow,” when he came upon Blossom. It was the  powdered sugar on my funnel cake of an afternoon.

Learn more about the Kansas Agri-Women and the national group, American Agri-Women here: http://americanagriwomen.org/kansas-agri-women. Follow them on at Twitter: http://twitter.com/women4ag.

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