By Sandy Mittelsteadt, Faith Contributor, Valley Ag Voice
The choice to retire from writing the “Faith in Farming”column was not an easy choice for me. Writing the column has been both exciting and interesting for me. I am thrilled by the fact that I have grown closer to the Lord in writing these articles. However, I have retired from spending fifty years in education and my husband and I plan to do a lot of traveling. Writing a column and meeting deadlines would be difficult with a traveling schedule, so I bit the bullet and made the difficult decision of resigning from writing the “Faith in Farming” column.
I want you to know that writing the “Faith in Farming”column has been an important part of my life. I will greatly miss you all. Even though I do not know all of you, I have met many of you, my readers. Your comments and conversation are etched in my memory. I will continue to pray for the Valley Ag Voice newspaper and its success and for its writers and readers. To have a newspaper in Kern County that celebrates the farming people who are the backbone of our society is noteworthy.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you, my readers, for your support. And, I am grateful to Russell Johnson and Elizabeth Vaughn for their encouragement and help. I would also like to thank Ed Tudor for his invitation to start writing this column, which was his idea.
It is now my honor and privilege to introduce you to Andrea Wright, the newest author of the “Faith in Farming” column. I have known Andrea for many years, and I know you will come to love her as much as I do.
“I was born into an Italian Catholic farm family, the Compagnoni family,” says Andrea Wright, “and was raised on a farm on a long dirt road in Pumpkin Center, which made me the person I am today. I can sort through my life’s happenings, as it is much like going through the moments of time. I have learned that the simple things are the most important, and my fondest childhood memory is just being ‘a farmer’s daughter.’”
Growing up on a farm, Andrea did farm chores, was a member of Panama 4-H Club, participated in church activities, and was even the Alternate Representative for Kern County Dairy Princess. In her adult life, she still lives on a farm and says she is “still a farm girl at heart.” She and her husband, Jack, farm and have an almond orchard. They are blessed to have ten grandchildren from the ages of 9 to 24 and one great-grandson named Jack Dean Wright. Andrea is making sure that family traditions are passed on into the next generation. She feels that living on a small farm keeps their family roots connected.
Andrea’s vocation is in education. In fact, I met Andrea in 1998 when I worked at Kern County’s Superintendent of Schools and she came to assist me in their School-to-Career Program. She went on to supervise the JobsPlus! Program. She has been involved with many activities that expose local students to the “real world of work,” including Farm Day in the City, Teacher’s Ag Seminar, College Night, Derricks to Desks, Engineering Day, and Leaders in Life. As an educator, Andrea has also facilitated and taught many workshops at local, state, and national educational conferences. Andrea retired from the Kern County Superintendent of Schools and continues to volunteer in youth educational projects.
To sum up my introduction of Andrea, allow me share a photo of us taken recently and to quote her: “For me, it’s all about faith, family and farming, and making a lifetime of memories reflecting on our family values.”’ To learn more about Andrea Wright and her farm life, read her first book, Pumpkin Center and the County Towns “A Road Runs Through Them,” and her second book, Pumpkin Center and the County Towns: The Farm Families: “Our Land and Our Passion.”