Stormont County Queen of the Furrow
Queen of the Furrow
By: Andrew Reed
Wherever you go in Stormont this summer, you will more than likely run into 22-year-old Queen’s University student Kayla Manley, or as she is also known as, the Stormont County Queen of the Furrow.
The Stormont County Queen of the Furrow is an elected role open to women of Stormont between the ages of 18 to 24, chosen each year by a panel of three judges, where applicants must read a series of speeches about agriculture and plow a plot of land.
At this point, if you haven’t already ‘Googled’ what a furrow is, see the following: a long narrow trench made in the ground by a plow, especially for planting seeds or for irrigation.
“I get asked what a furrow is all the time,” laughed Manley. “And what exactly is it I do.”
The Queen of the Furrow has many different roles but focuses mostly on spreading awareness about the challenges facing agriculture and how the community can come together to solve those challenges, being an ambassador for Stormont County, and making people aware of the position of Stormont County Queen of the Furrow and the Stormont Plow Association.
Raised in Stormont, Manley says she never missed a Stormont Fair, which is where she first learned of the Stormont County Queen of the Furrow.
“I saw the sash and crown and thought ‘hey, I’d like to do that,’” Manley said.
But for Manley it was about more than just looking the part. Volunteering has always been a huge part of her life, and becoming Stormont County Queen of the Furrow was just another way for her to give back to the community she was raised in.
“My mom has been deeply involved in the community since before I can remember,” Manley explained. “So that’s how I got involved and I always saw it as a great way to connect with family and learn more about the area.”
It’s through volunteering in the community that Manley was able to learn more about agriculture and educate herself on the issues faced by farmers.
From her experience volunteering, playing the part of the Queen and making numerous public appearances comes naturally for Manley.
“I’m never going to have a free day,” she says “But that’s how I like it.”
All of the public appearances and volunteering are adding up to achieve Manley’s surprising goal.
“I’m successful as Queen this year if I don’t get elected next year,” she said.
What Manley means by that is she was the only one to apply this past year. If she achieves her goal of spreading the word about the position of Stormont County Queen of the Furrow, then next year should have a lot more applicants.
She has already created new social media accounts as a way of providing information and outreach to future Queens.
“It’s been successful so far,” Manley said. “Girls come up to me and ask me what I’m doing and how they can apply.”
You can find Stormont’s own County Queen at various events around Stormont this summer including: the Avonmore Fair July 21- 23 and of course, the Stormont County Fair Sept. 1-4.