2016 Miss America, Betty Cantrell, spoke at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Young Farmer & Ranchers (YF&R) conference on February 15 in Kansas City, Missouri. Cantrell has teamed up with AFBF to promote healthy lifestyles for kids through her platform, “Healthy Children, Strong America.” Her platform will not only focus on encouraging kids to make healthy choices, but it will also highlight the farmers who produce food across the country.
“I am so excited to be partnered with Farm Bureau. My platform ‘Healthy Children, Strong America’ is all about helping kids to develop healthy bodies as well as healthy minds,” Cantrell said, “Growing up on a 700-acre farm, I have such a great appreciation for farmers and what farmers do. I grew up in rural Georgia… it’s farmland as far as the eye can see. All my neighbors are farmers and watching them get on their tractors is normal for me. A lot of people don’t understand the modern farmer and it’s something I do understand.”
Cantrell appreciates growing up on a farm with health conscious parents, where fresh produce was available and plenty of land to play outside. “Growing up in a healthy household… It was important to get outside and play. Now that I am older, I really appreciate it.
I have opened my eyes to the world around me that not every kid gets to grow up on a 700-acre farm, where fresh food is always available and there’s land to play on and get your exercise,” Cantrell said, “We live in a world today where there are neighborhoods on every corner and houses are closer… there’s no space for kids to go outside… they’re trapped inside glued to their electronics… which is a contributing problem to the childhood obesity rate in America. Georgia is the second most obese state. When I realized that and with my passion for kids, it really made me want to do as much as I can with this platform. I am excited to partner with you (Farm Bureau) to get my message further out there and show my appreciation for what farmers do and keeping them healthy.”
As Miss America, Cantrell hopes to bring a new perspective to the Miss America Organization about farmers and how they are providing the healthy food that our kids need. “Thank you so much for what y’all (YF&R) do to keep America’s children healthy. I have such a special place in my heart for farmers,” Cantrell said, “I didn’t do my first pageant until two years ago. I didn’t grow up doing pageants. At my first pageant I had no clue what I was doing. This is still really new to me, still getting the hang of wearing a crown on my head, but I decided to use this platform being Miss America to get a message out there. I am so happy to be the Miss America who has something more to say.”
Cantrell encourages people to go after their dreams and goals despite what others think or say. “It doesn’t matter what background you come from or what dreams you may have, because they are always obtainable if you put the work in. Never listen to the naysayers because I had a lot of people tell me that I could never be Miss America that I could never be Miss Georgia and pageants weren’t for me. I’m really glad I didn’t listen to them because I’ve come so far because I believed in myself and put the work in. Now my dreams are slowly coming true and we are all living the American dream by following our dreams and by not listening to those who tell us we can’t do it,” Cantrell said.
To learn more about Miss America’s partnership with AFBF and the launch of “First Peas to the Table” contest to help children understand the importance of healthy foods and agriculture in their everyday lives, visit http://www.fb.org/newsroom/news_article/397/
(Photo credit to Miss America Facebook Page)