Ardith James grew up on a farm near Flagler, Colo. She met her rancher husband, Keith James, after she moved to Karval, Colo., to teach elementary education. She taught third and fourth grades for three years before leaving to start her family.

The James family has four children - Andy, Walter, Natalie, and Katrina. After twelve years she returned to teaching where she continued to teach second through fourth grades for a total of 27 additional years at the Karval and Genoa-Hugo Schools.

The James family runs a cow-calf operation with calves being held over to the next fall and sold as yearlings. They handle the cattle with horses except for Ardith, who now uses a four wheeler.

James has long been active in her community, holding offices and participating in the various activities of the Lincoln County Cattlewomen and the Karval Friendship Circle. James’s hobbies include Photography and Cake Decorating. She has enriched her community with the beautiful cakes she has made for local weddings and other events. She was a 4-H leader for many years and was very involved in her children’s school, gymkhana and rodeo activities.
Ardith James has been Keith Jame’s helper for all of their married life. She retired from teaching three years ago and together with Keith enjoys their eleven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Friends Sew Happy are pleased to nominate James for the honor of being a Colorado Master Farm Homemaker. James received the award at the Colorado Master Farm Homemaker annual meeting held at May Farms in Byers, Colo.
Colorado Master Farm Homemaker’s Guild, Who are We?
The object of the Colorado Master Farm Homemakers Guild is to honor women in agriculture. Ranch and farm women actively involved in agriculture or those who have retired from a farm or ranch livelihood may be eligible. The guild recognizes women for their service to the industry and rural communities. Honorees are selected on the basis of leadership, family life, and community involvement. She must be nominated by an organization and must have at least 51 percent of her yearly income from agriculture.
The History of Colorado Master Farm Homemakers Guild
In 1928, 60 farm women from 12 states were presented with the first Master Farm Homemaker Awards. This was a new program—national in scope—announced in February by Dan Wallace, managing editor of the Farmer’s Wife, a magazine published in St. Paul, Minnesota. F.W. Beckman, editor and Bess M. Rowe, women’s editor were the initiators of the idea of an award.

The purpose of the program was to give recognition to the contribution farm women were making to the nation as homemakers and as voluntary community leaders. The aim of the Farmer’s Wife Magazine was to study rural living, to put the spotlight on its improvement and to bring a new day of recognition to all farm women.

The features of the programs were: The women chosen must be actual farm women. They must be nominated by their friends and neighbors for this honor. The program was carried out in 22 states in 1928 and 1929 with the cooperation of Extension services and land grant colleges acting as sponsors. In 1930, at the annual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin a constitution was adopted and the National Master Farm Homemakers Guild was on its way.

In 1933 the program adopted by the national guild stressed improving reading facilities for rural people and equalizing educational opportunities for rural children. Two national committee reports were discussed and adopted: What is Successful Rural Life, 1936, Forecast of Changes Which Lie Ahead, 1941. Much has changed over the years. For instance, one question asked on the first nomination form was: Do you have a water system in your home? If not, how far must water be carried and who carries it?

The guild was one of the first societies to join the Associated Country Women of the World at Chicago in July of 1934. When the ACWW held their triennial conference in Washington, DC, in 1936, guild members from 16 states attended and met with 7,000 rural homemakers from the U.S. and abroad.

The ACWW, based in London, England, has many members from different areas in the world. The United States is one of those areas. The area presidents meet at different times during the triennial period to carry on the business of ACWW.

Their purpose is to help with the needs of people all over the earth. It works with the World Health Organization and has a representative at the United Nations. Projects include safe drinking water, safe food practices, sexual and reproductive health, economic empowerment of women to reduce poverty, skill training and many others.

In the U.S. we have an umbrella organization named The Country Women’s Council which covers its ACWW member organizations such as FCE, Farm Bureau, MFHG, NVON, etc. The Country Women’s Council has a full slate of officers and the national president of the ACWW member organizations make up the board of control. The council keeps the affiliates up to date on the activities of the ACWW between Triennial meetings. The Colorado Master Farm Homemakers Guild was organized in 1954. There are nine districts in the state and each can have one winner each year.