Growing up on a farm in Fort Valley, Betty Cantrell learned skills that most children in her generation don’t get to grow up learning.
“I think that’s something to be treasured,” says Cantrell, the 22-year-old Miss America winner. “I loved growing up on a farm. I was able to run around freely and just enjoy being a kid. I wouldn’t trade that childhood for anything.”
Raised to have a deep respect for the farming community, Cantrell has carried her appreciation for agriculture into her platform as the crowned 2016 Miss America.
“I grew up knowing what it took to be a farmer and how much they do for the community every day,” she says. “Without the American farmer, we would not have our fresh produce and bread and beef that we enjoy so much.”
Cantrell’s platform, “Healthy Children, Strong America,” helps kids develop healthy bodies and healthy minds through physical activity and eating a balanced diet. She has partnered with the American Farm Bureau Federation to help promote this healthy lifestyle.
“The root concept lies within agriculture and eating those fresh, farm-grown fruits and vegetables, and I think it is key for our youth to know where that produce is coming from.”
As Miss America, Cantrell spent the year traveling to schools around the country to promote her campaign and to promote agriculture. “I want people to appreciate farmers and agriculture as much as I do. Agriculture is what makes Georgia thrive, as well as many other states, and we as a country need to appreciate everything agriculture does for us.”
Cantrell says she plans to continue to spread the word about the importance of agriculture beyond her year as Miss America. She knows childhood obesity, one of the main focuses of her platform, will continue to be a relevant issue for many years
“Promotion of this issue and raising awareness about the benefits of agriculture is the first step toward a healthier future for us all.”