Skye Varner McNiel Named Ninth Woman of the Year in Oklahoma Agriculture by the Diamond HatsMon, 28 Sep 2015 05:49:06 CDT
The 2015 Woman of the Year in Oklahoma Agriculture was caught by surprise when she was called to the stage Saturday night at the Diamond Hats Gala in Norman. Skye Varner McNiel was prepared to give a speech Saturday night- as she was apparently told by members of the group that they would like for her to accept this award on behalf of someone who could not be there.
Instead, Diamond Hat President Amy Lynn called McNiel to the stage and presented her with the award as the ninth Woman of the Year in Oklahoma Agriculture. McNiel says you don't often catch her speechless- but that was her reaction to what she told Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays "was perhaps one of the greatest honors that I have ever had because there are so many women that I respect in that room- and to be honored by them is really huge- and I don't take that lightly." (Pictured here is Tyler Norvell, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Youth Expo; Skye McNiel and Amy Lynn, 2015 President of the Diamond Hats)
The award to the former state lawmaker was part of a night of celebration by the Diamond Hats- and of raising money to spend this coming March as they support young 4-H and FFA members who take part in the Oklahoma Youth Expo. The night ended with $127,000 being raised from the silent and live auctions held by these determined ladies.
McNiel talked with Hays about the award, about her time in the legislature helping represent rural Oklahoma and her thoughts about State Question 777 which was sent to a vote of the people by members of the legislature earlier this year. On 777, McNiel says she strongly believes "it's hugely important to protect what we do- to make sure that outside groups can not come in and tear down what we are so proud of and what we do very well."
McNiel is the ninth lady to be honored by the Diamond Hats for the Woman of the Year in Oklahoma Agriculture. The former state representative follows the 2014 winner- Blayne Arthur, the Deputy Commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture. Other women that have been so honored by the Diamond Hats include Andrea Hutchison (2013), Francie Tolle (2012), Tammi Didlot (2011), Monica Wilke (2010), Melia Igo (2009), Marilyn Harrel (2008) and Mary Fallin (2006).
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear Ron and Skye talk about her being selected as the 2015 Woman of the Year in Oklahoma Agriclture.
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