Local insurance agent earns national award

Published 3:50 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

By KAREN THIEL / For the Washington Daily News

Ruth Fulford never expected a heritage of family farming experience to land her on a California stage, where she recently accepted a national award recognizing exceptional service in the farm insurance industry, specifically focused on her involvement with minorities and socially disadvantaged producers.

Fulford received that honor, an exclusive award designed to promote exceptional service industry-wide, about seven years after she was hired by Flatlands Insurance Group. Co-owner Read Allen said this week that he is “not at all surprised” at the honor, which he was on that stage last February to witness. “We challenged her to find a niche that other agencies didn’t have and the knowledge and dynamic she brought did that,” he said, adding that Fulford’s “passion to help anyone – not just our top clients – made her a natural fit for our group and perfect for this honor.”
Fulford attributed her attitude to a combination of childhood experiences on her family’s farms, combined with a belief in “always being fair and making sure people got equal opportunity… making sure all the kids on the playground get included in the games.”

A former insurance agent in the property and casualty field, Fulford switched to crop insurance about 12 years ago, contributing her knowledge and experience at Flatlands for the last seven years.

Fulford is a Crop CARE Consultant – the acronym standing for Crop and Agribusiness Resources and Education — serving farm families in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. She says her job in crop insurance quickly developed into “a passion for making sure small, underserved and minority farmers did not get left behind – of course including people of color, but also a decent number of female-run operations, and what we call the ‘underserved’ farmers whose products include livestock, organic crops, and food products produced for farm stands and farmers’ markets.”

Fulford said the moral to her continuing story – and an outlook she wants to share with others – is that she is honored to “do my part in making sure my minority clients have fair access and education in regard to their crop insurance. I learned a good work ethic watching the crops grow in 58 years of family farming, and developed a passion for making sure the family farm survives.”