Debbie Lyons-Blythe, White City, KS, is Monsanto's America's Farmers Mom of the Year 2012.
Lyons-Blythe was nominated by her children (Meghan, Allie, Trenton, Tyler and Eric), and also by her aunt, Mary Ferguson, who she describes as "more of a friend than an aunt." Both nominations summarized in 300 words what makes Lyons-Blythe so special to her family, farm, community and the agricultural industry. She was selected as the Southwest Region's Farm Mom of the Year by a panel of judges from American Agri-Women and Monsanto. Her nomination was then posted to www.AmericasFarmers.com, along with those of the four other regional winners. Online voting determined Lyons-Blythe the national winner, just in time for Mother's Day.
"What an honor that my children and my aunt, who is also a busy rancher, would nominate me for America's Farmers Mom of the Year, especially this time of year when we are often working until 9:30 at night and focused full-time on getting cattle bred, fences fixes and cows to grass," said Lyons-Blythe. "I'm flying high with the support I've been given from people who matter the most to me. I love to say I raise kids and cows - and I really love both."
Lyons-Blythe says she is proud to accept the award in recognition of farm moms everywhere who work long hours for little recognition. "I'm humbled to be singled out, because there are so many farm moms who work each day to build a legacy for their children," she said. "I am thankful for everyone who supports farm wives and moms in general."
Debbie and her family run Blythe Angus, near White City, KS, where her husband Duane's family homesteaded in 1890. They raise 250 registered Angus cows and sell registered bulls, along with a commercial heifer development program. They also have a diversified cropping operation, including hay, for the cowherd. Although all five of her children help on the ranch, it is Debbie who provides the daily labor. Duane works in town and she said she is "blessed" to have a husband supportive of her passion for ranching. A graduate of Kansas State University, Debbie serves on the board of directors for the Kansas Livestock Association and National Cattlemen's Beef Association and is an active member of the American Angus Association. She authors an online blog, "Life on a Kansas Cattle Ranch," with which she strives to give consumers a glimpse of life on a family farm.
"It doesn't take long to figure out what is in her heart," her children wrote in their nomination. "Her love for agriculture is evident when reading her blog, hearing her speeches and seeing her work. Not only did mom give us her eye color and smile, she shared with us her values and love of agriculture. She raised us five kids alongside her in the truck checking pastures, sorting cattle and selling bulls." Her nomination is posted in its entirety at AmericasFarmers.com.
All five regional winners won a $5,000 cash prize from Monsanto. Lyons-Blythe will receive an additional $5,000 in prize money from the company for winning the national title, to be awarded at an upcoming ceremony being planned by Monsanto to take place at a Kansas Beef Council event.
"Debbie Lyons-Blythe has a work ethic and a passion for agriculture that is truly inspirational," said Consuelo Madere, America's Farmers Mom of the Year spokesperson. "She devotes time and energy to teaching consumers the source of their food, and she does it while raising five children, participating in key industry organizations and running a successful business. I don't know how she finds enough hours in the day to accomplish all that she does. "
The other four regional winners were: Danni Beer, Keldron, SD; Sherri Lynn Kannmacher, Martinsville, IL; Sarah Peterson, Niles, MI; and Delores "Dee Dee" Clements Darden, Smithfield, VA.