Truddiann Ashmead - Voice of change for women in agriculture
Though there is often no glitz and glamour associated with agriculture, 25-year-old Truddiann Ashmead is using her passion and deep-rooted love for the agriculture sector to change that. On Saturday, August 5, she was crowned the 54th National Farm Queen. The Nutramix sponsored competition showcases not the conventional beauty but rather knowledge of the agricultural sector.
Born and raised in Seaforth, St Thomas, Truddiann, who is employed at the Municipal Corporation in the parish was literally groomed in agriculture. With her father being a farmer and many other individuals in her community sharing the same love, she said it was natural for her to develop an interest in the field. She is a past student of the Morant Bay High School where she studied the arts but she says agriculture has always been a passion of hers.
FOLLOWING HER PASSION
"I know the benefits that are to be had from agriculture, hence I just followed my passion," she said.
Epitomising grace, intelligence, the right values, and attitudes all encapsulated by agricultural knowledge, Ashmead will represent the agricultural sector for one year. Above all, she says she would like to use her programme of study to be a voice of change for women in agriculture as well as youths as it relates to gender disparities in agriculture.
As a part-time student at the University of the West Indies, Mona, in the Institute of Gender and Development Studies she is being given the opportunity to explore different areas within the society. She is using this knowledge to make a connection with the agriculture sector. She explained that she chose to study Gender and Development Studies because of her passion for the role women play in society and unattached youth.
"I believe that women are underrepresented in the agriculture sector." she further explained that persons are still in shock when she tells them her profession. For this stereotype to change, she believes more light needs to be shed on the involvement of women in agriculture.
She explained that women in agriculture are intellectuals, too, and as natural nurturers, they are able to excel in the agriculture industry. She also wants to get the voice of youth heard in the sector.
"I hope to empower and encourage young people to get involved; to go out there and maximise their full potential. If we do not do our work, then the agriculture sector will die. It has the potential to move Jamaica forward, to help Jamaica to maximise its fullest potential and if we do not play our part, then the sector will not be able to get to where its fullest potential is at," she explained.
As part of her prize, she will receive a scholarship to study at the College of Agriculture, Science & Education (CASE). She will also receive a two-week exchange programme from Delaware State University in the United States and a cash prize from title sponsor Nutramix.