Animal Science major honored for being a visionary

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A student in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences is among 100 "visionaries" being honored nationally through the Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives search.

Hattie Henderson was recognized by the program, which is aimed at identifying and honoring leaders who are changing rural communities and agriculture for the better. The senior Animal Science major from New Florence, Westmoreland County, was among 100 honorees announced during a National Ag Day event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

"Farm Credit has supported rural communities and agriculture for 100 years, and we appreciate the vision it takes to remain successful over time in agriculture and rapidly evolving, thriving rural industries," said Darrell Curtis, AgChoice Farm Credit president and CEO. "We are proud to honor these area leaders who are helping to define the future of our community and the agriculture industry."

Selected by a panel of experts on rural matters, including Farm Credit leaders and others from around the agriculture industry, Henderson was included among "the best of the best" who are positively shaping what is next for rural communities and agriculture.

Henderson is a farmer, farmhand and student who has teamed with her cousin to create a successful farming operation while changing the perceptions of women's roles in agriculture and conventional agriculture's role in our food system, according to Farm Credit.

With the goal to farm full time and expand into new crops and new sales locations over the next five years, the cousins' new farm stand operation will include produce, eggs and crafts from their farm, Farm Credit stated in a news release. The farm is fully conventional, and customers are invited to learn everything about how it's operated to help them put a face to their food.

"My goal is to create an innovative and cutting-edge farm on my family's property that I can use to promote and educate," said Henderson. "I want to show people that farmers are not just old men in overalls on tractors, that conventional farming techniques are safe, and that farmers are people who care about the food they produce."

Henderson noted that she hopes their venture will inspire other young men and women to pursue their dreams and to be successful in the agriculture industry.

"I think the future of agriculture is very promising, but there also will be a change in the faces of agriculture," she said. "With an aging population of farmers, young people are coming into the industry, and more women and minorities will be stepping up and farming."

Farm Credit supports rural communities with credit and financial services. It has been helping rural America grow and thrive for a century by providing farmers with capital. AgChoice is one of the nearly 80 Farm Credit organizations that are celebrating the dynamic future of rural communities and agriculture. AgChoice is an Agricultural Credit Association with $1.75 billion in gross loan assets.

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Last Updated March 25, 2016