Taylor Delaine Matney, 18, of Cedar Bluff, was recently named the 2014 Virginia Farm Bureau Ambassador. Taylor was given the honor on March 22 at the annual Farm Bureau Women’s Convention in Norfolk, Virginia.
At the weekend-long convention, she was interviewed by a panel of judges and answered questions pertaining to agriculture and its importance. She also gave a speech on her platform, which is to educate elementary school children on where their food comes from and the importance of agriculture in Virginia. She was nominated by Tazewell County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee for being an outstanding young agriculturalist.
Along with the appointment, Taylor will receive a $3,000 scholarship from Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and the organization’s Women’s Committee. Runner-up Nicole Stump, of Giles County, received $500 from the Women’s Committee. As Farm Bureau Ambassador, Matney will make public appearances and serve as an advocate for agriculture and Farm Bureau.
“My grandfather once said, ‘Once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman or a preacher, but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer,’” Matney noted at the VFBF Women’s Conference.
It’s that message that she wants to spread as Farm Bureau Ambassador. “Agriculture is what I know and love and I want to share that passion with others,” she said.
Taylor said she plans to educate children about where their food comes from. “It’s not just inner-city kids that don’t know about agriculture; it’s ones from rural areas too.
“As Farm Bureau Ambassador, I will encourage Virginia’s educators to invite agriculture into their classrooms, and I will also ask farmers to come to help educate students. Have county wide field days for students to come and see and touch animals, see machinery in action and learn what farming is all about.”
Matney is the fifth generation to work on her family’s registered Black Angus beef cattle and sheep farm. She helps shear sheep, is involved with lambing and calving and also is very active in barrel racing in Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina with the National Barrel Racing Association’s Virginia District 04. The Richlands High School senior serves as her school’s FFA chapter president, member of the DECA Club, 4H youth council and is also very active in her community. She works part time as a Veterinary Assistant for Crab Orchard Veterinary Services in Tazewell and plans to pursue a career as a Veterinary Technologist.
Taylor is the daughter of Jason and Jennifer Matney of Cedar Bluff. She has one younger brother, Justin. Her grandparents are Keith and Linda Matney of Cedar Bluff, and Bob and Deanna Harris of Tazewell.
With 135,000 members in 88 county Farm Bureaus, VFBF is Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group. Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, nonpartisan, voluntary organization committed to protecting Virginia’s farms and ensuring a safe, fresh and locally grown food supply.