McGrath named 2012 'Woman in Agriculture'
Two of Beth McGrath's passions are teaching and farming and she strives to do both every day. The former teacher and current farmer from Woodbury County is a life-long learner who strives to share information with a variety of audiences, ranging from farm wives to state legislators. Her commitment to agriculture has earned her the Iowa Farm Bureau's 2012 Woman in Agriculture honor, an annual tribute that recognizes one woman who demonstrates outstanding leadership abilities in the promotion of agriculture. The announcement was made at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation's 94th annual meeting in Des Moines on Dec. 4.
McGrath farms with her husband near Lawton, running a no-till soybean and corn operation and raising a small cow-calf herd. McGrath takes the lead on several duties, including the planting and combining, pasture care and loading semi-trucks. She also keeps the business' books and works with her husband when marketing grain.
In addition to her farm work, McGrath is active in a variety of education-based initiatives including IFBF's state Ag in the Classroom committee, Ag Leaders program and the Woodbury County Farm Bureau board of directors and women's committee. She is also involved with Women in Denim, Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence and Ronald McDonald House.
"Farm women have always been responsible for the health, nutrition and well-being of their families, but never have we faced so many issues concerning them," said McGrath. "We are just as responsible for the security and environmental issues surrounding our families."
She credits Farm Bureau educational opportunities for helping her to become more involved with the family farm and encouraging her to be more active in sharing agriculture's concerns with local and state leaders.
"Farm Bureau has enriched my knowledge of farming, as a whole and I am much more in tune with the issues facing farmers, both locally and nationally," said McGrath. She said women play important roles on their farming operations and in their communities. She encourages women to be more aware of the many issues facing agriculture, including immigration, taxes, economics and regulations.
"Women own a huge percentage of farm ground (in Iowa) and we need to be able to address issues concerning that land," said McGrath.
McGrath's recognition includes a plaque, a $250 cash prize and up to $500 to cover expenses for an Iowa conference for women.