Wanting to be a positive influence and to inspire others to be better, Kathy Harris has dedicated her life to her community. She strongly believes that it doesn’t take someone who is rich and famous to change the world; it just takes someone who continues to put in the effort. One of the main ways she does this is through her work. As the co-owner of Harris Farm since 2000 and the secretary of CW Matthews Contracting since 1999, Ms. Harris is known for her work ethic and positive energy. She is responsible for tasks like bookkeeping and record keeping, computer navigation and data entry, creating and managing databases to ensure FDA compliance, documenting control to suffice for FDA horticulture requirements, understanding FDA requirements and regulations in relation to food growth and livestock, administering vaccinations to livestock, operating heavy equipment, collecting soil samples, crop rotation, and planning. Additionally, since her job has put her in contact with many local businesses and suppliers, Ms. Harris and her husband have started sponsoring a yearly seed meeting to bolster relations and plan for the upcoming season. Her farm’s main exports are corn, wheat, cattle, and soybean for commercial use.
When Ms. Harris isn’t on the farm, she is putting her talents and enthusiasm to use in other ways. She is a community leader for a child mentoring program, through which she works with children between the ages of 12-14, and a volunteer for the Polk County Kiwanis Club, Taylorsville Elementary School, the Bartow County School System, and the Polk County School System. Ms. Harris also coordinated relief supplies and transportation in the wake of Hurricane Irma, as well as the Polk County Fishing Rodeo, and event she and her husband began 20 years ago. Since its inception, it has grown from 100 attendees to as many as 800.
The highlight of Ms. Harris’ journey thus far, however, has been working with the Kaleidoscope Program. She sponsored the event and provided the venue. She also organized and created Olympic challenges for mentally-challenged older adults, who came out for Farm Day. They fished in the morning, and Ms. Harris and her friends and family cooked everyone dinner. She is particularly proud of this event because she feels that people tend to forget about the elderly and disabled.