High school student juggles classes and a crown
Published 2:29 pm Thursday, March 9, 2023
Jenna Oliver has a bit more on her plate than the normal teenager. The Buckingham High School junior finds herself juggling classes and a crown, as the first Miss Virginia Agritourism.
Oliver won her crown in the 17-21 year-old category late last year. Now she travels the state, educating people about how important agriculture is to Virginia.
Oliver tells The Herald she has been connected to agriculture her whole life. She grew up on a farm, has served in the Future Farmers of America for several years and works at Sprouse’s Corner Ranch in Buckingham where she cares for horses and cattle and teaches Pony Summer Camp Lessons. She has been to the state fair, numerous times as she has competed and placed in Plant Science and Horse Hippology at the local and state levels.
HOW SHE GOT INVOLVED
When she was at the state fair this past fall, she saw that the title for Miss Virginia Agritourism was accepting applications. With her background in agriculture and beauty pageants, she joked with her mom that she would be perfect for the role. The joke didn’t last long as her mom encouraged her to apply and Oliver was chosen as the first Miss Virginia Agritourism.
“Honestly, it feels very fulfilling but I get a little anxious because when I go to events and I’m the center of attention it’s out of my comfort zone,” she said.
Agritourism is the combination of business and agriculture. Most of the time it is brought together through experiences, as Oliver plans to work with local farms to create more pick-your-own strawberries, apples, blueberries and other occasions to connect the two.
Since there is no Miss Agriculture at this time, Oliver is also filling that role as well as she travels to various events across the state to educate people about the importance of agriculture.
“What I want to accomplish the most is for people to understand that literally, everything comes from agriculture,” said Oliver. “Our food, clothes, even medicine is made from byproducts.”
With Virginia losing farmland each year, Oliver wants to educate people that if this trend continues there won’t be anything left.
To become Miss Virginia Agritourism, this part wasn’t a pageant. Oliver sent in her application, resume and pictures and then got a call from the Miss Agriculture director that she had won. Now, she’s getting ready to compete for the National Miss Agritourism pageant located at Enterprise, Alabama in November. This competition will be more like a pageant with formal wear, interviews and a press conference.