Hello everyone! My name is Libby Durst and I am a junior at Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS. I’ve been assigned to create a blog that exemplifies advocacy for agriculture or “AGvocacy” as we call it. This weekly blog will feature women from across the country who support agriculture in various ways. From veterinarians to farm operators to ranch wives, these women dedicate themselves to securing a positive future for agriculture. I was inspired to choose this topic because I have a passion for agriculture as well.
I was raised in Rolling Fork, a small community in the fertile Mississippi Delta. My father is a row-crop farmer so I have been exposed to agriculture all of my life. Pick-up trucks, crop-dusters, and the smell of corn growing are all signs of home for me. When I was young I thought farming was cool, but I didn’t truly understand its importance until I began working on a row-crop farm as teenager. Over time the farm established a herd of commercial beef cattle. I have been able to watch this herd grow from one cow to more than 250 head. I love taking care of the cows and it is especially rewarding because the owner’s whole family can participate. Even the city-slickers can work the chutes and pour on the de-wormer. Their farm is family oriented which makes it such a wonderful place to be.
When I wasn’t working on the farm, I was playing on the farm with my 4-H animals. I became active in our county 4-H club when I was 10 years old with a goat named Mr. Nibbles. Having a goat was even better than having a puppy, except a puppy would have been easier to train. Mr. Nibbles taught me a lot about responsibility AND persistence. After showing goats, I showed cattle and pigs, but cattle were my favorite.
I believe the combination of working on the farm and participating in 4-H instilled a love and appreciation for agriculture in me. As I practiced public speaking with 4-H I learned how I can do more than just establish my own herd of cattle. I can use my skills to tell others about the positive aspects of agriculture that are so absent from the mass media. With less than two percent of our population directly involved in agriculture, these positive aspects are important now more than ever. As I major in Agricultural Information Sciences, I hope to find a career path that allows me to use my education and experiences for sharing information about agriculture with others. That’s what makes me a woman for agriculture.