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Seibel in running for Farm Mom of the Year
By SEAN CLOUGHERTY
ROANOAKE, Va. (May 5, 2015) — Adding to her already impressive resumé, Virginia farmer Megan Seibel was selected as a finalist in the Farm Mom of the Year contest.
Online voting at www.americasfarmers.com ends on May 5 for selecting the national farm mom of the year, which will be announced May 8, and Seibel said it’s been an exciting experience meeting the other four regional finalists.
“They are all fantastic women,” Seibel said. “I’ve changed careers for this so to be recognized for it is very exciting.”
Seibel worked as a pediatric oncology nurse at a Washington, D.C.-area hospital until a few year. After marrying her husband Andy she helped his family’s Mountain View Farm in 2000 diversify their cow/calf operation into wine grapes for Virginia’s expanding wine industry.
She said after someone approached them about leasing a hillside field of theirs for grapes, they wondered if they could do it themselves.
“We’d never thought about planting grapes there,” Seibel said. “It was one of our better hay fields.”
They increased grape acres every year for four years, now with 20 acres, and sell mainly to three of the largest wineries in Virginia.
Seibel was nominated by her daughter Tess, one of her and Andy’s three children, who also won this year’s National Ag Day Essay Contest.
“Family farms would not exist without farm moms, and mine, Megan Seibel, is pretty amazing,” Tess wrote in the nomination.
The proud mother, though, was quick to shift the conversation from her mom of the year recognition to her daughter’s accomplishments.
“This has been a big year for her,” Seibel said.
She said she’s proud looking back at the transition to grape growing that the family supported the shift.
“I think I really looked at it as a way of doing something as a family,” she said. “It’s a good feeling when they’re there and supportive and backing you.”
She said she’s also proud knowing the farm is positioned to carry on to the next generation if they want to remain in agriculture.
Along with managing the vineyard part of the farm, Seibel is director of the Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results, or VALOR, program.
The two-year leadership program for adults in agriculture is designed to develop their communication, problem solving and critical thinking skills and broaden their knowledge of global and local agriculture in becoming an advocate for agriculture and a leader in the industry.
Seibel said it’s been rewarding to help get the program off the ground and learn from the class fellows.
“It’s less about what I present about leadership than what they learn from each other,” Seibel said. “That nurse inside me still has opportinties to engage in conversations on nutrition and food production.”
She said the program creates a place where the segments of agriculture can come together and discuss issues, production practices, successes and failures.
“Agriculture, and what we’re facing in challenges in the future is going to be a pretty complicated thing to tackle. This is helping to give everyone a voice.”