Rush County resident Bec Wicker was recently awarded the Women in Agriculture Achievement Award from The Purdue Extension Women in Agriculture Team.
The award was presented at Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch’s Celebration of Agriculture this past Thursday at the Indiana State Fair. The annual award recognizes Indiana women who have contributed significantly to the success of Indiana agriculture.
Wicker is humbled to win the award and grateful to her family, friends and coworkers who supported and encouraged her.
“The opportunities in agriculture for young women and beginning farmers are vastly different than when I was a young woman,” Wicker said. “There are still some barriers to women in the ag field and I would say to young ladies to never give up on your dreams, goals and ambitions. Sometimes there are decisions that have to be made that may seem life changing, but generally the results of those decisions are spot-on.”
Wicker became part of Wicker Farms in 1976 when she married J.D. Wicker following their graduations from Purdue University. She and J.D. built their own milking operation, diversified to a cow-calf operation, and raised corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and grass hay.
Wicker Farms believes in the importance of the conservation of soil and water as they continue to adopt minimum and no-till practices, as well as incorporating cover crops into an increasing number of acres each year.
“I have had an excellent support system of my husband and my children, my proudest crop,” Wicker said. “I have been fortunate to be involved with many organizations through the years, including Women in Ag, that have been instrumental in providing contacts and opportunities.”
Rush County Purdue Extension Educator Gracie Marlatt applauded Wicker’s contributions to the agriculture community.
“The Rush County agricultural community was fortunate to gain Bec when she moved here following her graduation from Purdue,” Marlatt said. “She married into the Wicker family, but she adopted the community as a whole. Working with J.D. and his family, they established their own dairy operation and have made the necessary adjustments to prosper through the years. She has reached out through her own efforts and through her employers to contribute to Rush County in many ways.”
Wicker grew up in a supportive farm family in Franklin, Kentucky. She wrote a popular series of articles about Beecher Arlinda Ellen, the Holstein who held the world record milk production in 1973, while studying as agriculture communications major.
Wicker said her passion for agriculture runs deep.
“I have been involved in some form of agriculture since a young child. I grew up on a dairy, row crop and tobacco farm in southern Kentucky,” Wicker said. “My passion for agriculture began with experiences in 4-H and FFA as the first female member of that chapter. I came to Indiana through Purdue where I majored in agricultural communications and forged my way in ag.”
Off the farm, Wicker has written several agriculture articles and worked as a writer for the Michigan-Indiana Holstein News. She has worked locally with the Soil and Water Conservation District and Midwest Ag Finance, which is now Beacon Ag Group.
Wicker also started the local Dairy Grooming for 4-H youth 4-H project, which is for those who wish to experience what it’s like to prepare a dairy animal for show at the county fair. Some project participants were introduced to agriculture and the farm for the first time.
Wicker has been a valuable member of the Advisory Committee for the Purdue Women in Agriculture Team and was the inspiration for their Code Red project. She is also involved with the Milroy United Methodist Church and serves on the Zanmi Fondwa Board in Haiti.
“My experiences in agriculture have landed me exactly where I want to be--surrounded by my family and friends, doing the things we love to do with animals and with farming,” Wicker said. “I have taken many paths to help achieve the stability that we have now as a farming operation--freelance magazine work, watershed work and fulltime employment using ag skills and communication knowledge. All of those decision making crossroads have helped me to utilize the things that I have learned through a lifetime of being involved with farming and to give back locally and globally.”
The Rush County Purdue Extension congratulated and thanked Wicker for her contributions to Rush County and Indiana.