Today, Ollerton and Campbell, with professional new careers intact, are best friends. These farm women epitomize the idea that one can leave the farm and come back home, and find success.

Each shares a deep love and appreciation for deep roots in agriculture.

“I feel very blessed,” Campbell shared. “I have the best family and friend. Pinal County is God’s country. I love the people and the land. I am proud of our county, state, and the cotton industry. I can see Robyn and I giving back as 4-H leaders in the future.”

Ollerton hopes to farm a few acres in the future while implementing successful marketing strategies at Fertizona.

“I have dirt in my blood veins,” Ollerton grinned. “I could never envision my life without agriculture. It is a great lifestyle and its hard work. My blood, sweat, and tears are on the farm. This is where I learned my work ethic.”

As she reflected on growing up, Ollerton’s voice briefly cracked.

“When I was a small child, home was sitting on my dad’s lap in the tractor cab. Home is being in the middle in a cotton field at 8 at night freezing when the cotton picker is backed up again.”

“Agriculture is in my heart and soul,” she said. “One day, I want my kids to grow up like I did.”

Today, the best friends still get together for “Taco Tuesday” dinners, a tradition started when they were students in college. They don cowgirl hats, jeans, and boots to attend several country music concerts a year.

Ollerton concluded, “When people asked me growing up what my dad did for a living, I’d puff up and say, ‘My dad’s a farmer.’”

Proudly, Robyn and Melissa both have dirt in their veins.

cblake@farmpress.com