Jeanette T. Barthle was “Woman of the Year in Agriculture” for 1990. She is the sixth recipient of the award, which recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture. As a wife, mother of seven, businesswoman and community leader, Barthle’s life is a striking reminder of the countless women who make differences in Florida agriculture.
A native Floridian, Barthle was raised in Dade City. In 1949, she married Pasco County rancher J.W. “Joe” Barthle. She spent the first part of her married life raising the couple’s four sons and daughters, while also serving as an active leader in 4-H and Future Farmers of America.
The Barthles own and operate a commercial cow/calf, registered Brahman and quarter horse business. In the mid-1980s, they added a two-acre indoor foliage shade house to replace frozen orange groves.
Although family and farming have always been her top priorities, Barthle has also worked extensively in the community and to promote the agricultural industry. The beef industry has probably benefited most from Barthle’s leadership skills. Working in conjunction with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, she assisted with the “Baby Beef” in-store promotions, which helped sell Florida beef when cattle prices hit rock bottom during the 1970s.
While serving as president of the Florida CowBelles (now Florida Cattlewomen, Inc.), Barthle initiated the first “Know Your Beef” short course, a yearly event held at the University of Florida. She also helped create the first Florida Beef Cook-Off contest in 1978, which has since become a major beef promotion event.
At the national level, Barthle has served as president of the American National Cattle Women’s organization, among other leadership positions. For her many years of dedicated service, she was named Outstanding Cattle Woman of Florida, and Outstanding Pasco CowBelle. The Barthles are also members of the Florida Farm Bureau and Mrs. Barthle served on the Pasco County Women’s Committee.
In 1985, Mrs. Barthles fulfilled a lifetime ambition of becoming a journalist when she became a regional editor for the “Independent Farmer and Rancher,” now “The Record,” a weekly agricultural publication. For four years she wrote weekly articles on all facets of Florida agricultural production, personalities and events. She also wrote a weekly commentary column entitled “Ag Libs,” a ranch woman’s view of life.