Empowering youth ‘Ag-vocates’

MIAMI COUNTY — They share a passion for show stock hogs, blue jeans, belt buckles and the smell of fresh wood shavings in the show arena.

Katelyn Hall, 13, and Tilly Hill, 7, both of Piqua, along with Kennedy Swigart, 10, of Troy, also represent Ohio’s Miss Agriculture USA circuit. The trio are all members of the Elizabeth Township Livestock 4-H Club showing pigs and other miscellanous projects at the Miami County Fair.

Hall, a Piqua Junior High School student, was recently named the 2020 National Junior Runner-Up Miss Agriculture USA Queen this summer. She first learned about the program at the Ohio State Fair last year. She said she liked how the competition fit her love of agriculture and leadership. As she learned more about it, she shared her experience and then recruited Hill and Swigart to participate in their age divisions.

“I have had a really good experience with this program, and I’m grateful to represent Miami County and Ohio through it,” Hall said. “You get to have fun, meet new friends and learn a lot about women’s role in agriculture.”

Hall has visited several Ohio county fairs representing the non-profit and enjoys collecting each fair’s promotional pins to add to her sash. Hall meets other fair and agriculture royalty, visits show arenas and talks with 4-H and FFA members about their projects and agriculture experiences. Hall shared that she sometimes is invited to join in helping others during their events, which she said she loves to do.

Hill, a second grader at Miami East Elementary, travels around the country to show pigs, collecting awards and belt buckles for her projects and showmanship skills.

Hill joined in on the princess fun, looking up to both Hall and Swigart not only in the show arena, but also through the Miss Agriculture program.

“I wanted to do it to visit new places,” Hill said. “My favorite thing is wearing the crown.”

Swigart will be a fourth grade student at Miami East. She also enjoys showing pigs and representing the ag pageant.

“It was fun getting the sash and crown. It’s been really cool to see other royalty at other fairs and how their fairs are different than ours,” Swigart said.

Hall said she was impressed with how one county’s junior fair program was operated entirely by the youth themselves with limited adult assistance.

Hall also shared how she’s met new friends of all ages from around the country, learning about their personal agriculture stories through the program.

“I’ve really enjoyed sharing my experience with others and getting to talk to people around the country about agriculture and its role in my life,” she said. “I have friends at school who don’t understand where their food comes from. I can help explain agriculture’s role in their daily life with people my age, as well as others.”

Hall is the daughter of Sean and Elizabeth Hall of Piqua. Swigart is the daughter of Kerri and David Swigart of Troy. Hill is the daughter of Molly and Brandon Hill of Piqua.

For more information about the Miss Agriculture USA organization, visit www.MissAgricultureUSA.org.

Miss Agriculture USA is a national nonprofit queen organization that is about more than just agriculture — it’s about building confidence, promoting self-esteem, developing public speaking skills, shaping strong leaders, networking and forming lasting friendships and more.