Amy Sigg Davis fell in love with agriculture as a child, and that love has led to a successful career in the industry that includes farm management, real estate, soybean research and international marketing.
“My first memory as a little girl was being out with my father in the Jeep and looking at the cow herd,” Davis says. “He had to take me home, which offended me because I really didn’t want to go home – I wanted to stay out with him – but he had to take me back, so Mama could change my diaper.”
Deeply Rooted In Agriculture
Davis grew up helping her father on their family farm in Warren County. After spending years planting and cultivating crops and raising cattle, Davis says she was a “pretty darn good farmer and a really good livestock handler” by the time she was in high school.
At the age of 16, she had the grand champion steer at the Warren County Fair. That same year, Davis also won the fair’s pie bake-off, and she became the National Shorthorn Lassie Queen that fall.
“I was an only child, so I was my dad’s boy and my mother’s ruffles- and-bows girl,” Davis says.
After graduating from high school, Davis attended The Ohio State University and earned her bachelor’s degree in home economics. She married and moved with her husband, who was in the military, to California where she obtained a master’s degree in early childhood education at California State University. The couple spent several years moving around the world, but in 1978, Davis says her dream came true – they moved home to the farm. “I immediately went to work with Dad again,” Davis says.
Davis Builds a Career In Ag
Davis became her father’s farm bookkeeper and continued helping him in the fields, and he taught her about real estate brokerage, particularly regarding large-parcel farm properties. She also took agriculture classes at Wilmington College and discovered soil microbiology and soil fertility.
When her father passed away in 1987, Davis became the head of the family farm, which is still in operation today and comprises approximately 1,100 acres of corn and soybeans. Her husband now serves as the farm’s bookkeeper, and the couple’s son and daughter help out on a regular basis.
“We are a very passionate farm family,” Davis says. “We all agree that we don’t really own the land – it owns us. It’s our obligation to do everything we can to conserve it and to work at being sustainable in our farming operations in every way we can.”
In addition to managing the farm, Davis has followed her father’s footsteps in real estate and been active in the industry throughout her career, serving as the president of the Warren County Board of Realtors in 1984 and 1989.
“Using my background in farms and my heritage from my father, I have sold farms all over central and southwestern Ohio,” Davis says.
In 1991, Davis began serving on the Ohio Soybean Council and continues to serve today, and she was instrumental in the development of the council’s program devoted to developing new uses for soybeans. She was also a trustee representing Ohio on the United Soybean Board and the National Biodiesel Board.
“Dad taught me that you must be involved and give back to your industry,” Davis says.
Due to her many years contributing to the state’s agriculture sector, Davis was one of the inaugural recipients of Ohio First Lady Karen W. Kasich’s Agriculture Women of the Year awards in 2012.
“My journey in agriculture has spanned a lifetime, and I love it more and am more passionate about it now than I was when Daddy took me home to get my diaper changed,” Davis says. “And I was pretty passionate even then.”
100 Faces of Ohio Women In Agriculture
Ohio State university Extension’s “100 Faces of Ohio Women in Agriculture” list is stacked with the state’s most dedicated, successful and influential women in the industry. The list was released at the 100 years of Celebration at the 2014 Farm Science Review in London, Ohio.
The celebration was held in honor of the 100 anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which established a system of cooperative extension services in conjunction with land-grant universities, in order to disseminate knowledge about agriculture, home economics and more.
Ohio counties honor their most accomplished women whose achievements span decades. From Sarah Chronister, who is an agricultural lender and farmer, and has been contributing to the industry since 2009, to Marie “Molly” Caren, who was born on the brown Fruit Farm in 1913 and donated the land for the Molly Caren Agricultural Center.
Some of these women grew up with mud on their boots and straw in their hair, and others chose this life of their own volition or fell into it in a happy accident.
The women included in the list are leaders and nurturers. Mothers like Bonnie Ayars of Madison County and Sue Borton of Greene County are raising their children with a passion for agriculture and a desire to learn. Sharon Glaspie of Cuyahoga County directs building Healthy Communities Garden Boyz, a nonprofit program dedicated to teaching urban teen boys how to grow and sell organic produce.
Each honoree on the list is a shining star on their own, but together they form a network of caring, learning and excellence. For the full list of honorees, visit growing-ohio.com.