Spradley: Cultivated on the farm

Published 11:09 pm Wednesday, June 3, 2009

When asked to tell one interesting thing about herself at Camp War Eagle last week, Amelia Spradley didn’t even have to think about it. “I show calves.”

The others attending freshmen orientation on The Plains furrowed their brows, “What in the world …?”

“They didn’t know what I was talking about,” Spradley said laughing. “Showing calves is what’s normal for me. All my friends know that, but those who don’t know me will say, ‘You do what?’ and I just laugh. I’ve tried the dancing thing and band, but what I enjoy most is showing calves. It’s just what I do.”

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Working with show calves has taught Spradley about leadership and responsibility.

“You learn about buying and selling and you learn, in a hurry, that if you don’t do things yourself, they probably won’t get done,” Spradley said. “So many of the things that I’ve learned in 4-H, through showing calves and on the farm will benefit me for the rest of my life.”

Spradley’s interest in farm life began at an early age as she visited her grandparents’ farm in Brundidge.

“I think my parents took me to visit my grandparents to get rid of me,” she said, laughing. “No, really. I loved being at the farm and my granddaddy had two limousine bulls. My favorite was Midnight, and I got to feed them corn – whole corn, not out of the bag. I fell in love with the farm. When I was in second grade, we moved to the farm and I was so excited.”

Spradley had no way of knowing that the seeds that were being sown on her grandparents’ farm were the foundation of her future.

Spradley, a 2009 Pike Liberal Arts graduate, is enrolled in the Department of Agriculture at Auburn University, where she has received a poultry science scholarship.

“Poultry science is the products business side of poultry and will prepare me to do a lot of things, including working for the USDA,” she said.

Spradley credits her early and ongoing interest in agriculture and her participation in the Pike County 4-H programs for the scholarship assistance that she has received.

“I’ve received nine scholarships and, had it not been for 4-H, this would not have been possible,” Spradley said. “Most of the scholarships are agriculture-related, like the Pike County Farmers Federation Scholarship and the Sam S. Williams Soil and Water Conservation Foundation’s Scholarship. I’m so appreciative of all of them.”

Law school and working in the political arena loom large in Spradley’s future.

“I really want to work in Washington D.C. for about 10 years,” she said. “I would like to be a lobbyist for a while, and then move back somewhere in the South, hopefully, Montgomery and work in the State house. I don’t want to practice law but I want to be involved in government and politics.”

Being an only child, it’s important to Spradley that her career aspirations don’t take her too far from home.

“I’ll always want to be close to home,” she said.

Home means being on the farm and no matter where she works, a part of Spradley will always remain that little girl on the farm.