4-H Youth Development

Alumni Spotlight: Sharon Furches

Posted: April 28, 2017

A native of Calloway County, Sharon Furches grew up the daughter of a farmer and homemaker. Watching her father farm and work a full-time job all while still making family breakfast a priority instilled in her a deep appreciation for hard work and family. As the oldest of three sisters (she has a twin who is younger by 4 minutes), Sharon was born a natural leader.

It was 4-H where Sharon would have the opportunity to refine her natural ability to lead. As a 4-H’er she was given the opportunity to work in teams with other youth where she learned that every team has roles to be filled, which sometimes means deferring to someone else’s leadership or ideas. She also fondly remembers the speech contests she participated in as giving her the confidence and skill to present her ideas with others effectively.

“4-H Contest applications, following rules, meeting deadlines and working as part of a team all enhanced the soft skills that have been key to my success.”

Sharon would take these skills with her when she attended Murray State, and again when, at the age of 25, she and her high-school sweetheart Tripp would assume full management of her father-in-law’s grain operation at his death. As the full-time office manager for the farm, Sharon appreciated the flexibility her role gave her when raising her children. While maintaining her role as full-time office manager for Furches Farm Partnership, Sharon has always viewed the agriculture community as family and sought to be actively involved as a volunteer both locally and statewide.

“Sometimes you have to say ‘No’ to things, but you must always make the time to volunteer – it doesn’t have to be 4-H or agriculture related, as long as you are making time to give your heart, passion, and experience to something.”

Calloway County Kentucky Farm Bureau member, Agriculture Representative to the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board, and Immediate Past President of Kentucky Women of Agriculture are just a few of the many roles Sharon has taken on. Most recently, Sharon was appointed to the Kentucky State Fair Board (alongside last month’s Alumni Spotlight, Ryan Bivens). In each of these roles Sharon has sought to use her skills and experiences to nurture and mentor others.

“A lot of people made room for me and mentored me; now I get to be the [mentor] for the next generation. It is my goal always to be inclusive and encouraging – we all have a place at the table, and you never will truly succeed by putting someone else down.”

Today, Sharon is excited to pass on her experience and help nurture her grandson who is almost old enough to participate in 4-H. Thank you, Sharon, for your willingness to share your experience and passion to better Kentucky and Kentucky agriculture.

If you know any outstanding 4-H alumni members and want to have his or her story shared, be sure to nominate them for our Alumni Spotlight. You can nominate them by sending a brief email highlighting his or her involvement and contributions to Kentucky 4-H, as well as his or her contact information to Ben Carr, ben.carr@uky.edu.



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