2012 Woman of Excellence in Agriculture Award

Pictured (L-R): Karen Eastman Velthuis receives her award from FWIO President-Elect
Evelyn Peck at the Royal on November 7, 2012.

The recipient of the 2012 “Woman of Excellence in Agriculture Award”, presented at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, is Karen Eastman Velthuis.  Karen lives on the family farm, “Riverdown Holsteins”, near Metcalfe, Ontario in the rural area south east of Ottawa.  She is the proud Mom of Kelly and Justin and wife of John Velthuis; daughter of Betty and Ron Eastman who live next door.  Karen’s mother-in-law, Ann Velthuis, is an enthusiastic Member of Vernon WI and is a farmer’s wife.  Karen and her family strive to attend and participate at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in some capacity at every opportunity.

For many years, Karen has been involved with Carleton 4-H Association as a member and presently as a leader.  She encourages both rural and urban youth to participate in the 4-H program and has supplied members with calves and equipment so they can be part of the program she so strongly believes in.  Karen strives for excellence and encourages the members to do their very best.  To be chosen to be part of the Classic Team at the Royal is something 4-H members place as their goal.  This year again she was at the Royal supporting the members as they learn leadership and cooperation with others and gain confidence as they work together in the organization.  Many times she has been the chaperone for the Classic Team and contributed her expertise to coach the members who have been selected to come and be part of this prestigious team.  Over the years she has even organized bus trips for the community to come to the Royal.  She is extremely generous with her time and volunteering.

This year, Karen’s family planned to show animals from their Holstein heard of approximately 75 – a herd that has won for them the Master Herd Award.  Because of this special trip to receive the Woman of Excellence in Agriculture Award and her belief in the value of the Royal, Karen intended to return home to hold down the fort so that Dad and other members of the family could come to the show.  Her awareness of others and her efforts to make things a little better for all are qualities to be admired and appreciated.

Karen had a very deep interest in agriculture from an early age.  Through school and beyond Karen has excelled in everything she has attempted to do – be it her studies, 4-H, sports or community involvement.  After high school, Karen went to the University of Guelph and completed the four year Agricultural Science degree.  While there, she did some work with photographer Patti Jones picturing cattle at the Royal.  After university, Karen returned to the farm.  Karen overcame a bout with a severe illness while continuing to work for the benefit of her family and agriculture.

It is said that Karen has had and will continue to have a tremendous impact on the 4-H, the Holstein Club, the Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec Championship Show, through her involvement in hockey leagues for herself and her children and on the Royal.

Karen’s nominators feel strongly that Karen is extremely deserving of this award.  She is an inspiration to so many around.

Congratulations Karen Eastman Velthuis!