The 1996 Winner: Norma Stokes
Norma Stokes was "Woman of the Year in Agriculture" for 1996. She was the 13th recipient of the award, which recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture. Stokes exemplifies the highest ideals of this award. She has been an innovative and tireless supporter and promoter of the cattle industry and Florida agriculture in general. She has been especially effective in communicating the significance of agriculture to school children and the public.
A native Floridian, Stokes was an urban resident until she married rancher Edgar Stokes in 1961. She quickly adapted to life on the ranch and embarked on a future of serving her family, her community and the agriculture industry. Stokes helped organize the Highlands County Cowbelles (which later was reorganized as the Highlands County Cattlewomen), and served as an officer of the organizations for a number of years. She has also been active in the Florida Farm Bureau at the local and state levels.
To promote beef, Stokes has conducted demonstrations at the Florida State Fair, the Highlands County Fair and the Florida Strawberry Festival. She also conducts food safety demonstrations for home economics classes, civic organizations and churches in the community. As part of Farm City Week activities each year, Stokes helps organize and conduct farm tours for the public and participates in radio talk shows. She has also helped to make the Ag In the Classroom program part of the regular curriculum in some Highlands County schools.
The Highlands County Cattlewomen named Stokes "Cattlewoman of the Year" in 1980, 1994 and 1996, when she also was honored as "Florida Cattlewoman of the Year" by the state association. As a wife and mother, Stokes has raised four children. She is also active in the Lorida Church of the Brethren and numerous school and community organizations.