Emily Case of Dewey, Okla. Recognized as a Significant Woman in Agriculture by Oklahoma Ag DeptFri, 25 May 2018 09:54:04 CDT
As part of a continuing series of stories on Significant Women in Oklahoma Agriculture, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry and Oklahoma State University are recognizing and honoring the impact of countless women across all 77 counties of the state, from all aspects and areas of the agricultural industry. The honorees were nominated by their peers and selected by a committee of 14 industry professionals. Emily Case of Dewey, Okla. is featured this week as a Significant Woman in Oklahoma Agriculture.
From the farm to the fork and the pasture to the plate, Emily Case’s fondest memories of agriculture are not just from the field.
After a long day of working cattle, her grandma would have supper on the table.
“We would have the 10-course meal,” Case said. “The mashed potatoes, the gravy, the chicken fried steak, the homemade pies, homemade bread - those are the memories, sitting down together as a family and praying before each meal, thanking the good Lord.”
Case grew up heavily involved in agriculture. On her mom’s side, her grandparents, Bob and Clarice Stamps, raised 100-150 head of cattle. On her dad’s side, her grandparents, Ted and Norma Davidson, grew watermelons and about 30-40 head of cattle.
“It wasn’t just a garden,” she said. “It was 30-40 acres. At one point I believe it was 80 acres of nothing but watermelons. They did very well with that. It was very, very profitable for them.”
Case recalls her earliest memories of agriculture through her family’s involvement in the industry.
“We spent countless hours in the fields helping pick the watermelons,” Case said. “They had a roadside stand in Ringwood, Okla., and we would pick the watermelons together. And you could sit underneath the stand, and we would cut them and eat them. They always had peaches and tomatoes and fresh everything.”
Her parents, Gary and Sherri Davidson, also had a “huge” garden.
“We would plant different types of vegetables,” she said. “My mom and my Grandma Stamps would go in the kitchen, and I just so vividly remember them canning all the beets and all the okra and the pickles, and I thought this is so cool.”
Her mom also published a cookbook titled “Seasoned with Poetry, Cooked with Love” with many poems she wrote about farm life, including “Country Style Breakfast” and “The Farmer’s Wife.”
Since both sides of Case’s family raised cattle, she was heavily exposed to livestock growing up.
“Whenever we would work cattle, we’d always do it together as a family,” Case said. “I mean everything is always done together. We would gather the cattle as a family. We would work the cattle as a family.”
Case acknowledged it wasn’t always easy.
“Cattle would get by you or get away or get loose, and we’d have to go re-gather them,” she said. “At the end of it all, Grandma would always have dinner on the table, and we’d all sit down together smelly and stinky and have supper together.”
Then to Now
Born and raised in Dewey, Okla., Case was a 4-H member and showed cattle, pigs and chickens through the program. Her parents also cut and baled hay, so she was in a tractor at a young age.
After graduating high school, Case received an animal science degree from Oklahoma State University. Throughout her time in Stillwater, she worked for the OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences and the local USDA office where she harvested wheat and barley by hand to get accurate counts of seeds per head.
After dating her high school sweetheart for four years, she married Caleb Case in 2002. Throughout 16 years of marriage, the two raised two daughters, Isabel, 12, and Leigha, 9, who both exhibit pigs though 4-H.
The Cases continue to cut and bale hay as well as run a 150-head cow-calf operation with Case’s parents, her two sisters and their husbands, Mike and Erin Rainey and Kyle and Daniell Schmitt.
Isabel and Leigha help with the farm as well and “love to be involved in that process.”
The Cases are always looking for new agricultural pursuits, from meat processing to growing pumpkins.
From 2005 to 2017, they were co-owners of Mike’s Deer Barn.
“We’d do about 1,000 head of deer a year in the season,” she said. “We didn’t do wild hogs, but we did deer, antelope, elk, bear, all your wild game of that sort and just got out of that recently and started pursuing other avenues.”
Case is now an insurance adjuster and alongside her husband own C4 Pumpkins.
“We just started that last year kind of on a whim,” she said. “I’ve always loved pumpkins and growing, always had a garden and still do and just wondered how it would work. We planted a couple thousand seeds, and we ended up with about 6,000 pumpkins. We got in a little over our heads there for a little bit.”
The pumpkins grew really well, and the Cases were able to sell nearly all 6,000 of them for distribution.
“We grew all kinds of pumpkins from the great big jack-o-lanterns to the little bitty ones, and we’re doing it again this year,” she said.
A Family Affair
Case is a member of the Washington County Fair Board, secretary of the Washington County Junior Livestock Board, and a member to the Washington County Cattlewomen. She also enjoys serving as a speech judge for FFA contests each year.
At a time when many are jumping ship from agricultural pursuits, Case continues on - for many reasons.
“It’s a lost trade, if you will,” she said. “It’s one of those things that not a lot of families can continue to farm through the droughts and the hard times and the economy. It’s not as good as it used to be. Cattle is not necessarily as profitable as it used to be.”
“You have to love it to do it,” she said. “You have to love the animals.”
All 150 head of cattle have a name, even the bull.
“When they hit the ground, they get an ear tag and a name,” Case laughed. “So each one is named, and they’re a part of the family as well.”
Regardless, it’s about growing and raising food.
“It’s a circle of life,” Case said.
She feels a sense of responsibility to pass agriculture on to the next generation. Her kids understand the respect needed for the animals who depend on the Case family and “how to care for something other than themselves,” no matter how much effort it takes.
“I love animals. I love agriculture, and I want that to continue on to generation after generation,” she said.
“My parents strongly instilled ag in all three of us, my sisters and I, and it continued on to our kids,” Case said. “They love it. They would rather go play on the four-wheelers, play in the dirt, help us plant the fields, ride in the tractors with Grandpa and Daddy, and harvest the fields than they would play inside.”
Both of Case’s sisters have stayed heavily involved in agriculture too - Erin through Rainey’s Custom Butchering and Daniell through Schmitt Show Pigs.
Agriculture has definitely been a family affair, from the farm to the fork and the pasture to the plate.
Exhibiting livestock, raising pumpkins, tending to a garden, hand harvesting grain, working cattle, volunteering for 4-H and FFA events, and owning a meat processing facility - Emily Case has done it all.
“Agriculture - it does run deep,” she said.
Source - Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry
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