The 1997 Winner: Gertrude "Trudy" Carey
Gertrude "Trudy" Carey was "Woman of the Year in Agriculture" award for 1997. She is the 14th recipient of the award, which recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture. She has managed the family’ varied agricultural enterprises, while making significant contributions to the agricultural industry in the state and nation, and her community. She exemplifies the commitment to family, agriculture and community for which this award was intended.
A native of Wisconsin, Carey grew up on the family farm and attended a one-room schoolhouse through the fifth grade. She went on to graduate from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Carey moved to Florida 37 years ago after marrying William O. Carey, also a Wisconsin native, who was developing a cattle business in Hillsborough County in 1960.
When her husband was hospitalized for an extended period in 1962, Carey managed the family cattle business. After he recovered, she continued managing financial aspects for the family businesses, which grew into four companies: Carey Cattle Company Inc., a dairy cattle brokerage firm; Russell’s Dairy Inc., a 500-cow dairy; Carey Feedlot Inc., a feedlot for replacement heifers; and Carey-Agri International Inc., an export/import company, with offices in Florida, Virginia and Poland.
Her family includes two daughters, Amy and Jill, and son, Billy, who manages the family export/import company in Poland. All the children raised beef and dairy animals in the 4-H program. Amy was chosen as the Florida Cattlemen’s Association "Sweetheart" in 1981, and Jill was named Florida Dairy Princess in 1988.
While her children were growing up, Carey was active in 4-H and FFA, helping her own and other youngsters select, raise and show beef and dairy animals in Hillsborough County and at the Florida State Fair.
In addition to working in the family businesses and raising a family, Carey has been active in numerous agricultural organizations. She was co-chairman of the 1997 National Beef Cook-Off, which was held in Tampa, and generated some 4,000 entries. It is the beef industry’s largest promotional event, held every two years. She utilizes her business and financial expertise as a member of the budget and finance committee of the National Beef Promotion and Research Board, which has a budget of more than $45 million.
Carey has served as president of Florida CattleWomen Inc., and has held leadership positions in cattle organizations at the local, state and national level. In 1987, she was named "Outstanding Florida CattleWoman" by Florida CattleWomen. She has served frequently as a spokesperson for agriculture, especially the beef and dairy industries in which she has been involved.
Carey also finds time to work with the Church of the Nativity, the Brandon Chamber of Commerce, the American Heart Association, Brandon Center Place (a community art and cultural center), and other civic groups.
In 1997, she had to take over management of the family businesses again following the death of her husband in a traffic accident.