Brussels' Higgins crowned 2018 Queen of the Furrow - Aug. 30, 2018
BY DENNY SCOTT
Loretta Higgins fought through a cold to claim the crown and sash at the Huron County Plowing Match Queen of the Furrow competition last week.
Higgins, daughter of Greg and Betty Jane Higgins of the Brussels area, said that, when she clinched the victory, she enjoyed it.
“It felt pretty good,” she said. “I’m not going to lie.”
Higgins said the win came as a bit of a surprise to her as she battled sickness and was surprised that the judges were able to understand her speech.
This is her second attempt at the crown, having competed last year after being encouraged by her sister, Kate, who won the crown for 2015-2016. She said that outgoing Queen Kara Hendriks encouraged her to run again, and, after thinking on it, she realized there wasn’t a reason not to.
“I thought to myself, what have I got to lose?” she said.
That first attempt, alongside her skills learned from annual involvement with 4-H clubs and a timely speech, helped her win, Higgins believes.
Her speech focused on the importance of portraying agriculture in media and education. Higgins said a former teacher approached her after the speech and said she was addressing that very issue with Huron County MPP and Minister of Education Lisa Thompson right before Higgins took to the stage.
“I realized then that my speech could make a difference,” Higgins said. “Lisa Thompson has the power to make that change and, hopefully, she sees that there are youth out there that want to learn about agriculture.”
Having started her post-secondary education last year at the University of Guelph in the Nutritional and Nutraceutical Sciences program, she said she realized just how underrepresented agriculture is in the world outside of Huron County.
“It should be more prevalent in the media and in schools so people have an interest in it,” she said.
She said she hopes, through school clubs and events around Huron County, to keep agriculture in the forefront of people’s minds. She also plans to spend as much time as she can at home to help promote the local plowing match, the International Plowing Match (IPM) and agriculture in general.
Higgins’ name may be well-known thanks to her continual involvement in local 4-H Clubs.
As a leader or press reporter, she has been involved in many different 4-H programs, which she said helped significantly with her bid for the ambassador crown.
“Local 4-H programs have a big age range, so I’m used to talking to people of all different involvement levels,” she said. “It really helps to make you aware of your public speaking ability and what you can work on.”
As for big events in her future, she said she hopes to get to the Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Association reunion at the Blyth Campground and attend the upcoming IPM in Chatham-Kent to support Kara Hendriks in her bid for Ontario Queen of the Furrow.
Higgins recently completed her first year in the Nutritional and Nutraceutical Sciences program, saying she focused on mostly general science for that inaugural study period. Her second year will focus on biochemistry and microbiology before getting more focused on the program’s major focus which will allow her to pursue a future in the pharmaceutical, naturopathy or food development industries.
Maranda Klaver and Lauren Bos received co-runner up awards for the Queen of the Furrow competition while Klaver also received the Plowmen’s Award for her plowing ability.