Addison Tatum, the 2023 Kern County Ms. United States Agriculture, will compete for the state title on Saturday, Jan. 28. She brings a wealth of excitement and enthusiasm to the pageant.
Tatum has lived her entire life in Wasco and feels proud to represent the city.
"It's a small town and is special to me. I like advocating for women because there are not many of us in agriculture."
She graduated from Wasco High School in 2018. She is currently a student at California State University, Bakersfield, and will graduate in May. Her goal is to become a teacher, and said her role with the Wasco Union Elementary School District's Expanded Learning and Opportunities program as a site supervisor brings her one step closer to realizing her chosen career.
"I love working with kids, which is why I work with the district. I also enjoy coaching cheer for the Wasco Bengals. I put my heart into my work, school and extracurricular activities, and I believe I contribute positively to Wasco. It's what I am most proud of."
She loves being involved in the community and thinks winning the competition will provide more opportunities for this.
Tatum said she makes a strong candidate to take home the crown because she is very outgoing and comes with many years of experience in agriculture, as she was in FFA for four years in high school.
"Because of that, I am a strong public speaker and very outgoing. I also have time management skills working and being a full-time student. People tell me I am a natural-born leader. I am the oldest of four and have three brothers that have helped me become independent."
She said her mother was a single parent for a long time.
"I had to grow up quickly and be like a second mom. This taught me responsibility and compassion for others. I am committed to my goals. If I want something, I work hard to get it."
Tatum thinks she is different from the other girls competing.
"In my division, I am the only one of color, and I feel I bring a passion for my culture and am happy to celebrate it. I should win because I am the best qualified and am determined to be the best version of myself. I want to show the younger generation of women to not be afraid to strive for their dreams."
If she wins and receives a scholarship, she will use that toward her college loans. She will also use the platform to raise awareness around the issues she cares most about.
"I am about ag literacy and advocacy. My biggest concern is that children and even adults don't know where their food comes from. My hope is to educate them about all of the contributions farmers make and give them the recognition they deserve," Tatum said.
The competition is based on a number of factors, including votes from the public. To vote, go to.positveagvocating.com or visit her on Facebook at Addison Tatum.