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Welcome to the first edition of the MS Women for Ag newsletter!
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Dear friends of Mississippi Women for Agriculture.

This is my first newsletter since I was elected President on March 4, 2016. I want to share my story. I am married to Hugh Leigh Mathews III and I am the mother of two wonderful men Marc and Jared Mathews.  I am also Gigi to six grandchildren. That pretty mare on our website is Mathews Lightening and I raised her and her mother who is 27 and still giving life lessons to my students. She is a registered Paint Horse. I worked 20 years for the USPS to support my horse business. My husband worked 17 years for the USPS until gout arthritis forced his retirement three years ago. He also farmed and raised my hay and oats for my business. I had to retire 16 years ago as I went blind but by the Amazing Grace of God and good doctors they retrieved my sight after three surgeries.

I became interested in Farm Bureau as the farmers voice and I helped start the Equine Commodity for Farm Bureau which I chaired for 4 years. I read in the Farm Bureau magazine about an Annies Project planned for Mississippi thru Mississippi State. I signed up. I learned about my personality, my risk, and enjoyed networking with other women. I even spoke at several as a graduate and told how it affected me.  Beverly Howell the MS professor who wrote the grant thru the Southern Risk Management sent five women to the National Women in Agriculture meeting in Oklahoma on scholarship. We were five producers and the presenters were mostly extension. I wanted to go because in 2008 there was a presentation on “How to make money in the Horse Business”. Well I took the advise changed my business plan to boarding and lessons and stopped breeding. I am still in the horse business but boy do I miss my babies.

On this trip I gained two new sisters Sandra Berryhill and Diane Evans. Sandra will have to share her story with you some time. Diane Evans died of cancer but made me promise to keep a Mississippi Women for Agriculture group going. It began in my living room in September 2011 with the writing of our bylaws. In lieu of flowers Diane asked for donations to MWA and our scholarships began and are named after her. Her son Robert and daughter-in-law Amy Evans come every year to present and I love them.

We have our own website now. Dale Moore and Ellen Graves are working hard to teach old girls new  tricks. Thank you Sherilyn Jones and Mary Jane Coign for all your help.

WHAT WOULD YOU AS A MEMBER OF MWA WANT OUR GROUP TO DO? Do we want a motto like the Army “Be all you can be” or the the United Methodist Conferences is “the Power of We”.

Would regional meetings be something you are interested in?  Please share your concerns and thoughts with me at vmathews@bellsouth.net.

Tell others to sign up for the newsletter on any page of the website, which is a two part process. Sign up, then go to your e-mail to confirm.

Virginia Mathews

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