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Sons’ nomination early Mother’s Day gift for Nickerson
By SEAN CLOUGHERTY
KENNEDYVILLE, Md. (May 6, 2014) — Every Tuesday, Kristen Nickerson is known to be at her family’s Grand View Farm by 4:30 a.m. to load hogs headed to Leidy’s in Pennsylvania then back to her house 10 miles away in Worton, Md., to see her two sons, Dutch and Michael, off to school and then return to the farm to start other tasks.
Last Tuesday, she was also getting a load of feeder pigs tagged and ready to be hauled off the farm and looking after one son who was sick.
“I really haven’t started my real work yet,” she said later that afternoon while referring to other daily chores in the swine barns.
“But I’ll get to that.”
That’s just the life of a farm mom, she said, and one she’s not interested in trading.
Nickerson, who manages the nursery and finishing end of the farm’s swine operation along with numerous other farm tasks, was one of five farm moms selected as regional winners in Monsanto’s America’s Farmers Mom of the Year contest.
Online voting ends May 6 at www.americasfarmer.com in deciding the national mom of the year, expected to be announced before Mother’s Day.
Nickerson’s selection was a complete surprise to her after her family, led by her two sons, sent in her nomination.
“Whether it’s helping us to train 4-H steers, plant and maintain wildlife plots, drive farm equipment, or bake a cake, mom uses every opportunity to teach my brother and me the importance of doing our best and developing skills to excel in life,” the boys wrote in their nomination.
So when she didn’t recognize the number on her cell phone from a Monsanto rep calling to notify her of the selection, she let it go to voicemail.
“It’s out of state,” she said with a laugh. “I’m thinking it’s a phone solicitation.”
Upon returning the phone call, Nickerson learned what her family had been up to.
“My family made me feel special by doing this,” she said, with an emotional quiver in her voice. “But being selected is really an honor. There are many many farm moms out there that deserve this recognition.
“I want to represent the whole group well.”
Soon after she was notified, Nickerson flew to St. Louis to meet the other finalists at Monsanto headquarters and tour the company’s research facilities.
Nickerson said it’s been a great experience, especially getting to know the other farm moms.
“That made it easy to have a conversation because who doesn’t like to talk about their kids? Who doesn’t like to talk about their farm?” she said.
Nickerson added whether she goes further in the contest or not, she sees the contest as empowering to her and farm moms nationwide to continue the dialog with non-farmers about modern agriculture.
It’s important for consumers to know while farm moms may have much different day-to-day tasks than other mothers, they still buy food in grocery stores, eat at restaurants and live normal lives.
“I feel that we can use this to help educate and inform consumers and show them we’re the same as they are,” she said. “I’m proud of it and I want to uphold this honor.”