2022 #RootedinAg contest winner fosters community through agriculture.
Lindie Huffman, 2022 winner of the Syngenta #RootedInAg contest, grew up surrounded by tobacco fields and beef cattle while most children were playing with tablets or riding bikes. She moved to the sixth-generation operation when she was just five years old. Her agrarian playhouse, otherwise known as the family farm, sits in northern Kentucky.
“It’s hot, time consuming and labor-intensive work,” Huffman says. “Our farm was very much about quality over quantity.”
At the center of the operation is the home of Huffman’s grandparents, where she spent countless hours. She worked the land and bonded with her Grandfather Kenny, whom she coined Papaw. He became the most influential person in her life.
The #RootedinAg contest from Syngenta asks growers and ag professionals to share the story of their ag mentor. In her essay, Huffman honors her grandfather, who worked as a roadside agronomist for the state of Kentucky while managing the family farm. “His level of commitment is what I saw,” says Huffman. “And that showed me the opportunity within agriculture.”
He passed that on to Huffman, who is passionate about lending a helping hand to all involved in the ag industry. Her desire to serve others is driven by lessons learned from her grandfather. “I realized that I have a servant’s heart and I want to be able to help other farmers,” she says.
His level of commitment is what I saw, says Huffman. And that showed me the opportunity within agriculture.
Huffman says her grandfather taught her critical ag lessons from a young age that propelled her towards an agricultural career. He taught her about different plants by showing her how to identify blades of grass and picking up leaves around the tobacco fields.
“He was the only person in my family who had gone to university, and he made sure I had that opportunity,” says Huffman. “I went to the University of Kentucky, where he attended.”
Huffman’s story made an impression on both the online voters and the #RootedinAg contest judges, who named her the 2022 grand prizewinner.
“Lindie’s roots in ag run deep,” says Wendell Calhoun, Syngenta strategic marketing and operations manager. “We thank her and everyone who shared their stories. Those stories inspire us to stay innovative for the future generations of the ag community.”
Huffman is now an accounting extension agent for agricultural national resources at the University of Kentucky. On top of her work in educational programing and community development, she helps local farmers adopt new management practices and find new marketing opportunities.
One of Huffman’s largest projects was growing the Pendleton County Farmer’s Market from three vendors in 2012 to 34 in 2022. “Farmers’ markets are a catalyst for community,” says Huffman.” The market is now a center where the community connects with food and local growers’ profit and provide the public with fresh produce.
The farmer’s market is also home to Sprout’s Kids’ Club, a farmers’ market-based children’s program that teaches about produce, local food systems and more. Here children engage directly with farmers by spending tokens as regular market shoppers would.
As part of Huffman’s prize, Syngenta made a $1,000 donation in her grandfather’s name to the Sprouts Kids’ Club at the Pendleton County Farmer’s Market. The club educates children about agriculture as Huffman’s grandfather did for her, which is why she chose it as the donation’s recipient. The donation will provide the children with access to more opportunities to learn and connect with agriculture.
“I think that there’s power in storytelling and opportunity in letting people know where their food comes from,” says Huffman. “It builds relationships with the consumer. My mission is to keep farmers farming and to keep families fed through access to local foods.”