Hands of a Female Farmer: Cora DeLeon

Cora Deleon's Hands

Not all farmers are rough and rugged men.  Some of them work just as hard but happen to be female!  Some of them work harder because they are female! Today we honor a prime example.

Hands Pictured Above: Cora DeLeon  Age: 28

Involvement in Agriculture:I am currently an Agriculture Science Teacher at Sabinal High School. I am a ranchers grandaughter, and have grown up in, and around the agriculture industry. My grandfather Wayne Cheney taught agriculture in D’Hanis, Texas for 35 yrs, the family also raised Limousin cattle, a few sheep, and baled hay.

Some of my earliest memories are of feeding cattle out of the back of a pick up truck, or riding in an open cab John Deere tractor with a worn yellow cannopy to block the sun. That is when my Mom and Papa instilled in me the love of nature, respect for the land, and care for livestock and equipment. Over the last 16 years I have worked at a feed store, grain elevator and in college wrote for a quarterly cotton publication before begining my career as an ag science teacher. I believe that educating the public, young and old about what agriculturists do is the only way we will overcome the stigma that so many organizations and ill informed Americans have created about the agriculture industry.

Most Difficult Moment in Agriculture: Drought, not just your average South Texas drought, watching my grandparents struggle with the decision to sell the ranch that has been in my grandmothers family for over 100 years. Cattle prices were low, feed and fuel prices were high, hay wouldn’t grow, stock tanks and water wells were going dry. The truth was we didn’t know how long the drought would last, or how long we could continue to struggle through these times.

Mother nature cannot be controlled, we have to work with her and take the good with the bad. We as agriculturists have to advocate for all of those who have known this struggle. We need new and innovative technology to create improved practices and products. We have to figure out how fewer farmers and ranchers can produce more food and fiber on fewer acres for an ever growing population in the United States and around the world.

Most Joyous Moment in Agriculture: I would say seeing agriculture in its purest form, when my students take seed and earth and create a living plant. No matter what kind of day a student has had, or how mad I may be at them for being late for class, that all falls away when I see the pride and accomplishment on their face when they see the first tiny green sprout sticking out of a pile of soil. That feeling is why we have food and clothing, every farmer or rancher has felt that at some time while looking at a crop, or a newly born calf. My students may never run a tractor, or work cattle. However, in that greenhouse they are learning where food and fiber come from, responsibility, hard work, and pride in what they have created. All of those things will go with them long after completion of the course or graduation. As an agriculture educator I could not ask for more.

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6 thoughts on “Hands of a Female Farmer: Cora DeLeon

  1. Gail says:

    Did your family end up having to sell their land?

  2. Cora says:

    We made it through the drought but eventually they sold it to another family member, my papa is 85, it became more important to take care of himself and his family then chase cattle and fix fences…. We still have access to it, if we ever just want to roll the windows down and check the cattle. I am glad that it is still in the family.

  3. Sean Johnston says:

    Ms. De Leon, I love this blog. What a great project. It reminds me of one of my favorite books, “people with dirty hands.” Great blog. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Margaret says:

    Thanks for a different perspective….agriculture is far reaching!

  5. Carol hargens says:

    Dear Cora, this blog is wonderful. So proud to call you family. Also proud to be a farmer’s wife though we are getting close to retirement. God bless you and all the contributors of this great blog. Farming in Nebraska is a little different than Texas, but the goals are all the same. Good luck to you all!

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