Kailey Donaldson was named Queen during the 2017 IPM
By Diego Flammini
Halton County’s Kailey Donaldson was named the Queen of the Furrow during the 2017 International Plowing Match and Rural Expo’s (IPM) Celebration of Excellence gala on Sept. 22.
The Ontario Agricultural College graduate competed with more than 20 other county queens vying for the title and opportunity to represent the Ontario Plowmen’s Association (OPA) in a number of ways, including attending meetings with the IPM committee, local plowing matches, banquets, farm shows and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
Donaldson remembers hearing her name called as the winner, but everything after that was a blur.
“The night was crazy. You really never think you’re going to win when there’s lots of great contestants involved,” Donaldson, who grew up on a hobby farm, told Farms.com. “I don’t remember much of the night because there was so much excitement.”
The queen contestants were judged on plowing ability, interview skills, a prepared speech and an impromptu speech.
Donaldson’s speech focused on the meaning of agriculture and how it can differ between people. It’s an idea she came up with while working with children.
“I lead (the Acton) Junior Fair Board and had some of the kids do an Ag More Than Ever quiz,” she said. “One boy asked me how to pronounce the word agriculture and what the word meant. I knew from that moment what my speech topic was going to be. So my speech included what agriculture means to me and how we need to share agriculture with more people.”
In addition to representing the OPA at a number of events, the Queen of the Furrow also acts as a role model for young girls.
The IPM held its first ever Princess of the Furrow competition this year, won by Brooklyn Hendricks from Lucknow, Ont. Girls between 12 and 17-years old entered and were required to give brief speeches.
These future queens are a great way to preserve the competition’s history and see it flourish into the future, Donaldson said.
“It means we are holding onto (the competition’s) future,” she said. “There may not be many people who know what Queen of the Furrow is and establishing the princess program is a fantastic way for young girls to build confidence in themselves.”
Top photo: Kailey Donaldson receives her tiara from 2016/2017 Queen of the Furrow, Anita Rastapkevicius/Ontario Plowmen's Association