SOUTH PYMATUNING TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WKBN) – A young woman from Mercer County spent her summer as Pennsylvania’s Ms. Agriculture USA, traveling around the northwest part of the state promoting farmers. Her specialty is maple syrup and heavy machinery.
Haleigh Coryea, 25, is a graduate of Sharpsville High School. Her agricultural background is in maple syrup. She’s been hauling buckets of sap since she was six.
“I applied back in June, and a couple of days later, they got back to me and they said, ‘Congratulations, you’ve been selected,'” Coryea said.
Friday, Coryea, showed 27 First News cameras around the kitchen of her family’s maple syrup business Coryea’s Maple Products in Mercer County’s South Pymatuning Township where best-of-show ribbons from the Pennsylvania Farm Show hand on the wall.
“This is what spearheaded it. The maple syrup industry was part of our family. And then when I started going to the farm show about seven or eight years ago and just seen everything there, I was like, OK. I’m just going to jump in,” Coryea said.
While Haleigh has spent some of her time as Ms. Agriculture, appearing at fairs and festivals with a crown and sash, she wanted the job primarily to promote agriculture.
“Honestly, I love talking to kids. When you talk to kids and they go home and they tell their parents what they learned, it just blossoms from there,” Coryea said.
Coryea’s father, Tim Coryea, said they couldn’t be more proud.
“She was a maple sweetheart for the state of the state Pennsylvania. So, she represented the maple industry prior to all of agriculture. So, it’s been huge. We’re really proud of her,” Tim Coryea said.
But maple syrup and agriculture are Coryea’s second job. Her first job is as a heavy equipment operator with PennDOT, operating backhoes and driving dump trucks and snow plows.
“I did one year of college in pre-med, and I decided that wasn’t for me. I texted my dad one day and said, ‘I think I’m getting my CDL.’ He said, ‘Whatever you want to do.’ When I’m driving down the road, people are looking at me like wait a minute. My friends drive past mand and wave. It’s funny,” Coryea said.
While Coryea will be spending the rest of the year and most of next year as Pennsylvania’s Ms. Agriculture, come next June, she will be competing for the title of National Ms. Agriculture.