As the wife of a farmer in Webster County and the mother of four, Cala Tabb stays extremely busy. But add in her job as a librarian at Eupora Elementary School and Eupora High School, in addition her duties within Farm Bureau and you’ve got the makings of a Farm Woman of the Year.
Through every avenue of her life, Cala strives to promote agriculture and farming, however, she makes the greatest effort in her classroom. She likes to include books about where our food comes from and the importance of agriculture to Mississippi in her daily lesson plans.
Cala realized the importance of telling her family’s agriculture and farming story several years ago while teaching a reading lesson.
“One of our stories in our reader was about pesticide runoff in the Mississippi River,” Cala said. “(The book said) that (pesticides) ran off into the Gulf of Mexico (and) created dead zones in the oceans, (and) that (the pesticides) come from farmers. It was in our text books that we were reading to kids. Another story was about honey bees and part of the reason why they were dying was because of farmers and their use of pesticides. I thought if I don’t stop right here and give these kids another point of view nobody’s going teach to them.”
She knew then not only did she need to make a difference in her own classroom but as far and wide as she could.
“We’re similar in the farming community, but we all have our own story and we need to tell it because it makes an impact,” Cala said. “Social media is where most people get their information. That’s where they get their news. That’s where they get their information from. So, I know that (we need to) get on social media, tell our story, as well as comment on things that we know are not true, and put our piece of mind out there.”
With support from her husband, Billy, Cala has taken a more upfront role in Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program, by hosting events in her area, speaking out in civic groups and through their church. She has also completed training with American Farm Bureau as a spokesperson.
She does all of this to reach various groups of people with the story of the Mississippi farmer in hopes of contributing to agriculture’s bright future.
“I want my kids to see me working hard for things that are not just important to me, but that are important to everyone,” Cala said. “We’re securing farming for them, for their future, and for anybody who wants to be a farmer one day. We hope that we’re able to say, here, this is what we worked really hard for and we want it to be maybe a little bit easier for you.”
Cala was shocked when she received the call regarding her nomination as Mississippi Farm Bureau’s 2018 Farm Woman of the Year.
“It is a great honor,” she said. “I feel like everything that I do, whether it’s promoting Farm Bureau or just agriculture in general, that I mean it. It means a lot to me. It means a lot to our family and I’m just, I’m proud to have the opportunity to be able to do it.”