There’s a new Ontario Queen of the Furrow – Derika Nauta of Tavistock (Oxford County), who was crowned during the 2018 International Plowing Match and Rural Expo (IPM 2018) in Chatham-Kent.
“It feels unreal. I’m speechless,” Derika said moments after being announced as the winner of this prestigious competition, sponsored by the Ontario Mutual Insurance Association. “I’m excited to see what’s ahead.”
Twenty-five Ontario Queen of the Furrow contestants, each selected to represent their region of the province, were accompanied by three judges during three days of competition at the IPM. They were assigned points based on appearance and deportment, plowing abilities, an interview and a speech on an agriculture-related topic delivered on the Pride Seeds Main Stage in front of a large crowd of IPM visitors.
The top five contestants were attributed additional points based on an impromptu speech delivered during the Celebration of Excellence Gala, held Friday (Sept. 21) evening at John D. Bradley Convention Centre (565 Richmond St, Chatham).
“All of the 25 girls did very well throughout the competition,” said Stephanie Campbell, Co-chair of the Queen of the Furrow Committee. “Derika conducted herself very well. She’s a very strong speaker and you could tell that throughout the week. She’s a very genuine person, you could really see her personality shine.
“She’s very knowledgeable on the subject of agriculture.”
Derika is a graduate of the Health Science and Biology program at Western University in London. She’s currently studying at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in North York.
In her new role, Derika will act as an ambassador for Ontario agriculture, travelling the province and attending events to promote the IPM and the Ontario Plowmen’s Association. She will continue her reign until the 2019 IPM, which will take place in Verner (West Nipissing) Sept. 17-21.
When asked what advice she would give to Derika, outgoing Ontario Queen of the Furrow Kailey Donaldson, of Halton, said, “Take every opportunity as a new adventure. This year will be very busy, be sure to take time to soak it all in. Most importantly have fun!”
During her final remarks as reigning Ontario Queen of the Furrow, Donaldson told the crowd of about 550 people during the Celebration of Excellence Gala this past year is one she’ll not forget.
“This year is one I will cherish for the rest of my life,” she said.
Josie Linton of Durham was chosen by her fellow 2018-19 Ontario Queen of the Furrow contestants to receive the title of Miss Friendship.
“We’re extremely happy to align ourselves with an initiative that supports young women in agriculture and, over time, encourages tomorrow’s leaders in our communities,” commented Dean Muharrem, Sales Manager at North Kent Mutual, speaking on behalf of the Ontario Mutual Insurance Association.
“Congratulations to all the women who participated in local counties to get here. The skills they’ve learned, the relationships they’ve built will serve them well into the future with all their endeavours.”
The IPM is organized by the Ontario Plowmen’s Association (OPA), in conjunction with a local committee. It is held in a different community every year, offering five days of competitions, live entertainment, hundreds of vendors and exhibitors, children’s activities, antique and historical displays, and much more. The Ontario Queen of the Furrow competition has been a part of the IPM since 1960.