Albin farm mom recognized for hard work in agriculture
“Mother of the Year” isn’t a title that can be won overnight, and Bette Lu Lerwick, mother of four from Albin, has earned her nomination time after time.
Lerwick is known throughout her community as a woman of many titles: farm wife, community cook, EMT volunteer, farm manager, friend to the elderly, house keeper, community activist, care giver, and she even delivers the post on Saturdays. If Bette Lu doesn’t have time management down, then nobody does.
It’s that time management and work ethic that earned her the title of Monsanto’s national Farmers Mom of the Year in late May, after she found out in mid-May that she was a regional finalist.
“There is no such thing as a daily routine. There is a routine, but it’s changing all the time. Around the farm I am responsible for the yards, the house, the upkeep around the buildings and those sorts of things. Of course, I also pitch in out in the field with the guys – I drive the tractor and run for parts,” says Lerwick of life on her family’s southeast Wyoming farm.
Lerwick takes pride in keeping everything going, and ensuring that not only the farm, but also her household, run smoothly.
“It is a full time job just keeping things functioning around the home, especially when we have extra help around. Keeping everyone fed, keeping clothes washed, things running smoothly and everything under control can be a chore. The house really is the main hub for everything – everyone meets here and all business is directed out of the home. I know I can’t function if the home isn’t in order and I think that it helps them, too,” notes Lerwick.
All of the work and pressures associated with being a devoted hard-working farm wife could be considered tiresome, but not to Lerwick.
“But I enjoy it!” she says. “It is a lot of work, but I truly enjoy it.”
However experienced she is now, Lerwick did not grow up on a farm – it was when she got married that her life took a turn in a new direction.
“One of the things I remember most after we got married is adjusting to the flat land farms of the prairie. I grew up in the mountains, and moving to an area that was completely flat was a whole new experience,” she jokes.
Although it’s different from where she grew up, Lerwick has adapted well to her environment. She raised four children on the family farm in southeast Wyoming, keeping active with them and all of their own activities throughout school. Her children are grown now and are having children of their own, but they still remember and appreciate their mother for everything that she has done for them.
“I didn’t even know that my daughter had nominated me until I won the regional title! They contacted me on Friday the 13th and I said that was the luckiest Friday the 13th ever,” Lerwick says, smiling, of her entry into the contest by Kosha Olson of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.
Lerwick says she appreciates the support provided by Wyoming, which pulled together to get her the votes needed to win the title of Monsanto’s Farmers Mom of the Year.
“People in Wyoming really pull together and want Wyoming to be promoted well,” Lerwick notes.
Monsanto representative Dan Marostica attended the Wyoming Cattle Industry 2011 Convention and Trade Show in early June to present Lerwick with her award and a $7,500 check.
“She is the backbone of her family, a valuable contributor to the community and a leader within the agriculture community,” said Marostica of Lerwick during the ceremony.
He said that Monsanto takes the time to recognize incredible moms such as Lerwick as a small way of thanking all women in agriculture.
“Women play a critical role in agriculture, and the Mom of the Year contest was created to recognize the numerous, diverse contributions they make daily to their families, farms, communities and the agricultural industry. No matter where they’re from or what they do, farm moms seem to share a passion for agriculture, a love for the family farm lifestyle and a dedication to preserving the land for the next generation,” said Marostica.
Tressa Lawrence is editorial intern for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.