By Dr. Bobby Soileau
NEW ORLEANS - Daughter, wife, mother, volunteer, advocate and farmer all describe Katie Sistrunk. She is also this year’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture winner at the 2017 Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation Convention in New Orleans.
The Excellence in Agriculture competition recognizes young producers for their leadership and involvement in agriculture. Sistrunk is part of a family sugarcane and soybean farm in Iberville Parish. In her words, she is behind the desk - not in the dirt. She manages the office of the family operation with her father and brothers.
In addition, she is very active with Farm Bureau on the parish and state level with the Women’s Leadership Committee and Young Farmers & Ranchers. She also works with the 4-H program in Iberville Parish as a volunteer, and is an active member of the American Sugar Cane League.
But it is Sistrunk’s role as a mother that has given her the opportunity to reach out as an advocate to groups outside of agriculture.
“My role as a mother has strengthened my credibility with my story, said Sistrunk. “It has given me a different audience to communicate with.”
Sistrunk says she is able to speak to many groups such as 4-H, Rotary and farmers about many issues such as labor and labeling. But speaking to mothers has become just as important.
“Since becoming a mom I’m able to speak to other mothers about their food options when grocery shopping. With all of the marketing centered around non-GMO and organic I think it is important for people to base their choices on facts, not fear.”
As the winner of the 2017 Excellence in Agriculture Award, Katie received a $7,500 credit toward the purchase of a 4-wheel ATV from the Louisiana Land Bank, a trip to the 2018 American Farm Bureau Convention in Nashville, $1,500 in equipment rental from H&E Equipment Services, a $250 gift card from Conquest Completion Services, a $250 Choice Hotels gift card and a $250 Farm Bureau Bank gift card from the Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance Companies.