You herd right, Class III of VALOR has begun and I am honored to be one of 13 participants. VALOR is a two-year program for those in agriculture who want to develop their communication, problem solving, and critical thinking skills in addition to broadening their knowledge of agriculture in the pursuit of becoming an advocate and leader in the industry.
I’m Paula Martin, Agricultural Credit Analyst for the First Bank & Trust Company and a member of VALOR – Class III. I live on part of my family’s dairy farm in Mt. Crawford with my husband Jesse and our dog Maggie.
Agriculture has always been a large part of my life from working on my family’s farm as a child, to participating in FFA and 4-H as a young adult, and now helping farmers expand their business as an analyst. My hope is that VALOR will expand my knowledge of Virginia’s diverse agricultural industry and develop me as a better leader for the industry.
My time in agricultural finance has taught me that there is no one-size fits all in agriculture. Despite what you might read on the internet or hear on the news, there are a multitude of sustainable, healthy, and responsible ways to make a living in agriculture. I hope that my time in VALOR will help me spread this message to promote more unity in agriculture. As less than 1% of the population, we need to speak with an undivided voice.
Much like E.M. Tiffany, I also “believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.”