By Jay Stone, Georgia Farm Bureau
With humorist Jane Jenkins Herlong providing entertainment and panelists offering tips for life and promoting agriculture, the inaugural Women in Ag Summit focused on enhancing the lives of female agriculturalists.
The Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee hosted the event, held in Peachtree City last November, to celebrate the role women play in agriculture. Activities included a tour of Country Gardens Farm in Newnan and a networking reception.
Herlong, following the HER acronym – honor, evolve, rise – shared her journey from being a farmer’s daughter to appearing in the Miss America pageant. She discussed themes from her new book, Sweet Tea Secrets from the Deep-Fried South.
“You have to do life like you do tea,” Herlong said. “You have to be seasoned. You have to be steeped, and then you have to be steamed.”
The trick, she said, is to keep sight of the things that bring joy.
“The thing we have to be most careful of is not to lose sugar,” Herlong said. “I call that the humor in life. What makes you lose your humor? When you get stressed.”
In the session “The Art of the Side Hustle - Choosing the Best Yes," farmer Laura Jensen from Loganville, Wilcox County ag teacher Addie Tucker, and Gordon State College Director of Career Services Dr. Tonya Moore gave tips for time and life management.
One key: Make room for your life's passions and prioritize involvements so you can pursue your passions.
Tucker, who serves as a foster parent and has two children of her own in addition to teaching ag, long wanted to raise pygmy goats. She realized goats didn’t fit her life, but she tried gardening and found her happy place.
“I realized I didn’t have time or resources for goats. The garden fits,” Tucker said. “You just learn what things work for your life and what doesn’t.”
Moore is also the Gordon State athletic director. When she isn’t working at the college, she and her husband, Ricky, run a marriage ministry, which she calls her ‘sweet spot,’ the thing she wants to devote time to outside of her job.
“My research shows that if you’re healthy at home, you’re also healthy at work,” Moore said. “What you’re doing at home spills over into the workplace. We try to help couples build a healthy legacy.”
In the “Ladies and Legislators,” session, state Reps. Patty Bentley (D-Butler) and Beth Camp (R-Concord) discussed how to communicate with elected officials.
The two legislators say emails, phone calls and texts are valuable, but should be done in your own words.
“Please do not send a form letter. Those form letters, we get tons of them, and it says the exact same thing,” Camp said. “You telling me why you’re for or against it and signing your name, has more impact than a rote message.”
Both representatives said face-to-face meetings are the most effective approach.
“I like to schedule appointments with constituents to talk face to face about the situation and come up with a resolution,” Bentley said.
Jane Jenkins Herlong. Photo by Logan Thomas