Delores “Dee Dee” Darden, Smithfield, Va., was recently
named Monsanto’s 2012 America’s Farmers
Mom of the Year regional winner for the Southeast.
One of five regional winners, Darden was selected
by judges from American Agri-Women and Monsanto in recognition
of the contributions she makes to her family, farm, community
and the agricultural industry.
Dee Dee and her husband, Tommy, farm 600 acres of peanuts,
cotton, corn, wheat and soybeans and raise beef cattle. They also
run Darden’s Country Store, a family-run business since 1952,
where they cure country hams.
A Peanut-Promoting Force
Yet, Darden needs little introduction to the peanut industry
where she has been a tireless promoter of peanuts for many
“Dee Dee Darden is an amazing woman who is an incredible
asset to the peanut industry,” says National Peanut Board
President and Managing Director Marie Fenn. “She is extremely
dedicated to her family, her community and her business. During
her service on the National Peanut Board, including her
chairmanship, she was a courageous leader in the Board’s proactive
approach to food allergies.
“No matter how busy she is, I’m so grateful that Dee Dee always
makes the time and devotes the passion to help us champion
USA-grown peanuts,” Fenn says.
A Community Leader
Darden was nominated for the award by her daughter, Carrie,
who wrote, “Dee Dee Darden is passionate about our family,
farming and her community. Every fall, over 1,500 schoolage
children and their parents visit the farm. She organizes hay
rides, pumpkin picking, cow “meetNgreet,” and gives a lesson
on how food gets from the farm to the fork.
“Community is near and dear to Dee Dee’s heart. She serves
or has served on several local, state and national commodity
boards. She currently serves as chairman of Virginia Small Grains
Check Off Board and is past president of the Virginia Grains
Producers. As past chairman of the National Peanut Board, she
traveled nationally and internationally promoting USA peanuts.”
An Agriculture Ambassador
Dell Cotton, executive director of the Peanut Growers Cooperative
Marketing Association in Franklin, Va., says, “Dee Dee
Darden has been and continues to be a great ambassador for Virginia’s
Consuelo Madere, America’s Farmers Mom of the Year
spokesperson, says that Darden, along with our other regional
winners, personifies a passion for agriculture and the farming
lifestyle. “It’s an honor to recognize her for all she does to support
agriculture and to reinforce within her community that the
food on grocery store shelves is grown in the fields of rural
America,” she says.
Although Darden says she was excited and proud to be chosen
as a regional winner, it’s the passion that she feels for family,
her community and agriculture that motivate her daily.
“It’s a real honor to be recognized for doing what you love
to do!” she says.
Monsanto’s America’s Farmers Mom of the Year is an extension
of the America’s Farmers program, which celebrates the contributions
of America’s farmers, who provide food, energy and
clothing for a growing planet. PG