Best Of The Best

Jessica Rumbaugh of El Campo was named the winner of the Texas Farm Bureau’s Excellence in Agriculture competition yesterday, and will go on to represent Texas at the national convention in January. The EIA contest aims to recognize individuals in ag.

An El Campo native will represent Texas and local agriculture at the annual American Farm Bureau Federation competition in a few months for the second year in a row.

Jessica Rumbaugh, owner of Texas Land and Home Real Estate, was one of three finalists in this year’s competition, which recognizes young individuals who are involved in agriculture but do not earn their main income from a farm or ranch.

Winning “is an honor beyond words,” Rumbaugh said. “I am so thankful and humbled that they felt my efforts were worthy of being recognized in their annual contests, especially considering the quality of applicants from across the state each year.”

As the winner of the TFB EIA competition, Rumbaugh will compete for Texas at the American Farm Bureau Federation contest in January.

“Jessica is a prime example of excellence in agriculture,” TFB President Russell Boening said via a press release. “She works tirelessly to promote agriculture to children and those in urban settings, and we’re glad to recognize her contributions and celebrate her achievements.”

As prizes for winning the TFB competition, Rumbaugh won $5,000 and a Utility Terrain Vehicle.

Rumbaugh and her husband, Ben, were finalists for TFB’s EIA in late 2019, competing alongside El Campoans Sarah and Zach Eder who went on to represent TFB at the national convention.

This year, Rumbaugh competed against two other EIA finalists, Cody Berry of Hudson and Laura Reed of Denton, and the winner was selected by a panel of judges. The three then had to create a presentation which they gave to the judges via a video call, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and answer follow up questions.

“To me, that was actually tougher than the original application itself in terms of choosing what information was the most important to share in such a limited amount of time,” Rumbaugh said.

Competing in the EIA contest took a lot of hard work, Rumbaugh said. The initial application called for multiple written passages.

“It requires a lot of thinking and a lot of writing, but I enjoy it because I have to sit down and really dive into the current state of agriculture,” Rumbaugh said. “I have to directly identify what I deem to be issues the industry is facing.”

The first place winner of the national competition will win a new Ford vehicle and registration to an AFBF conference in Oregon. Second place will win a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor.

“I have only a few days to get my application together to submit to AFBF to compete in the national competition,” Rumbaugh said. “I hope I can make Texas proud.”

Rumbaugh and her husband operate a grass-fed beef business called 410 Farms on the outskirts of El Campo and are TFB’s District 11 Young Farmer and Rancher Advisory Committee representatives. The couple has a son, Kai, and a daughter, Bailey.

Coming from a multi-generation ag family, Rumbaugh’s passion for agriculture led her to create, a website that provides ag-themed lessons for teachers and parents. Jessica also recently started a podcast discussing rural properties.

She is involved with the Wharton County Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau, creating social media content and traveling across the country to speak with politicians and educate students and teachers on the agriculture industry.

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