An old saying states, “If you’re gonna talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk.”
There may be no better example of that than the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation 2019 Farm Woman of the Year, Julie White.
“She is definitely the advocate for farming in our family,” says William, White’s husband. “It doesn’t matter if it is on social media, at the grocery store or at church, she’s always talking about farming. She is constantly thinking about agriculture and how everything ties together.”
After growing up on her family farm in Denham Springs, Louisiana, White turned down a scholarship in music to study agriculture. Now, she helps raise beef cattle alongside her husband and in-laws. As her love of agriculture and farming has grown so has her need to tell others about her family’s life work.
“My passion for agriculture has grown over the years,” White says. “I love agriculture and I want other people to love it as much as I do. William and I think it’s important for the sixth generation farmers we are raising to understand, but we also want our consumers to understand.”
Although Local and national organization have recognized White as a leader in agriculture, her true passion for agriculture shines while educating younger generations about what farming brings to their lives every day.
“I think farming is something that we have to have,” White says. “It’s a necessity. We all have to have food. We all have to wear clothes. People don’t always understand that, so it’s our job as farmers to step out, tell our story and encourage younger generations to be involved.”
White created FARMtastic, an agriculture experiential learning activity hosted by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, after seeing first-hand the lack of understanding elementary aged students had about agriculture. White began teaching the program in Oktibbeha County, where she worked as an extension agent for Mississippi State University.
Today, 5,000 students in second, third and fourth grades experience the FARMtastic program each year.
“I see kids that do not understand why we, as farmers, do what we do,” White says. “I want kids across our entire state to understand where their food and clothes come from, but also that there is a farmer working somewhere 365 days a year for them to have the things that they need.”