Teens from Harrington, Milford win $1K from Delaware Farm Bureau
The economic hardship that the coronavirus has had on farmers inspired teen Maci Carter to want to work in the agriculture field even more now.
Carter, of Harrington, is headed to the University of Delaware this fall where she’ll cultivate her farming background through the Agriculture and Natural Resources program with the plan of teaching ag in the future.
To help lighten the cost of her college expenses, she and fellow teen Shannon O’Hara, of Milford, were both awarded $1,000 scholarships by the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee of the Delaware Farm Bureau.
“Even during this pandemic, they’re still working to provide food for us,” Carter, 18, said about farmers, many of whom have had to sell items at a lower price and work through a labor shortage because of the coronavirus.
“It’s heartwarming to know that and it makes my decision easier, because there’s so many people in the public that don’t understand the hard work farmers do, and what work producers do all day, everyday,” she added. “As an ag teacher, it’ll be my job to inform those people about the hard work the ag industry puts in to give us food.”
The Delaware Farm Bureau was established in 1944 and has become one of the strongest farm organizations in the state. DFB is a nonprofit and nongovernmental organization that serves as a unified voice for farmers in Delaware. The group has over 6,500 farm families and associate members.
Richard Wilkins, board president of the DFB, said they normally have a food booth at the Delaware State Fair, which they rely on to raise funds for scholarships. This year they decided it wasn’t worth the risk to operate a booth at the fair, so the organization had to pull money from its investment funds to support O’Hara and Carter.
“Educating our youth, especially those that want to return to careers in agriculture, is the way that we can continue to build our industry,” he said.
O’Hara, a graduate of Sussex Technical High School, said her DFB scholarship means a lot, especially since money isn’t flowing as easily now.
“Even with applying to a lot of different scholarships, I feel like not many organizations have been able to fundraise like they normally would. Major fundraisers haven’t been able to happen because of COVID,” she said. “There’s still an expensive cost for books, housing, meals and stuff. So any type of money helps.”
The 18-year-old from Milford is headed to Stevenson University in Maryland to study business communications. Being exposed to ag at a young age has helped to boost her self-esteem, she said.
“When I was little I had a speech impediment and that lasted all the way until [about] sixth grade. I was doing these public speech competitions, demonstrations and things like that. 4-H really taught me how to talk to people,” O’Hara explained. “It really encouraged me to go into my major of business communications, because you have to be able to talk to people and have conversations.”