Thirteen days and counting until election day.  The rhetoric is rolling, mistruths are in full force and voters are challenging me on every issue, state related and beyond.  However, last night’s Wyoming County Farm Bureau Dinner provided an enjoyable respite —and  an inspirational reminder of why I want to serve the 147th District.

Laurel Perl is the young lady in the photo with me.  She is the 2012 Wyoming County Dairy Princess Runner Up. Laurel was one of the hundred or so gathered at Wyoming County’s annual Farm Bureau dinner last night, where she spoke about her Dairy Princess experience. 

As Laurel stood at the podium, her cheeks flushed as colorful as her lovely orange dress.  When she found the composure to speak, the tenor of her voice re-enforced her obvious apprehension.  Yet to this young woman’s credit she found the courage to forge ahead, nervous giggles charmingly embroidering her stories of growing up on her family’s dairy farm and representing Wyoming County at the state fair.

Yet as Laurel came to the end of her speech, this intimated young woman suddenly began to transform  Her voice steadied. Her words became forceful.  The room full of farm bureau members became respectfully silent as this inexperienced teen reminded us all why agriculture is such a meaningful part of our lives. 

In talking about her future, Laurel stated that she wanted to go to college for political science and further her education in law school, specializing in agricultural law.  With a sweet laugh—this time in acknowledgement rather than nervousness—-Laurel explained that after working 7./24 for 14 years on her family’s farm, she really doesn’t want to continue farming as her career.  Yet  she firmly announced that she does want to work in the agriculture field for one simple reason—a reason she explained with clarity and heartfelt emotion as she stated,  “The dairy industry in not just an industry, it’s a family made up of individual families that put their lives into their work.”

Thanks, Laurel, for reminding all of us at the Farm Bureau dinner why agriculture is so important and why we should care.