Barbara Mansfield Mazurek’s lifelong impact on young people, on agriculture and on the southwest Texas region won her recognition earlier this year as the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association’s Man of the Year in District 10.
Michael Haynes, formerly the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent in Bandera County who now is the District 10 administrator for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, said Mazurek was deserving of the honor because of the multi-generational impact she has had in agriculture and as a teacher and coach for 38 years.
“It is the most prestigious award that is given to someone who supports the agricultural industry,” Haynes said about the Man of the Year honor.
“She’s a tough person who can help pull us through tough times and she has always been optimistic,” said Haynes. “If there is a problem, that means there’s got to be a solution. We just have to work hard and find out what it is.”
He said Mazurek was one of the few women to win the Man of the Year honors, which is decided on by all the agricultural agents in the 21 Southwest Texas counties that make up District 10.
“There’s a reason she’s a leader,” the district chief said. “She comes up with solutions.”
A brief biography of Mazurek prepared by Haynes’ office said the Texas Women’s University graduate won the All Star Track Coach Award in 1991 and helped organize the Bandera Little Olympics program as a teacher, has been a member of the Bandera County Farm Bureau for 59 years and its president for more than 20, has been a Bandera County Junior Livestock Show director for 45 years and won the Alton Reininger stock show award in 1991.
She also has received the Honorary FFA County Award, has served on the Bandera County Wildlife and Livestock Association for more than 20 years and has been a director of the Bandera County Farmers and Ranchman Association for 21 years.
She and her husband raised three children and ranched in Bandera County, raising sheep, goats, cattle and swine. Even after she lost her husband in a farm machinery accident in 1993 and then retired two years later, Mazurek has continued to raise sheep, goats and cattle while also operating a seed oat business for about 10 years.
Mazurek said she was shocked, amazed and humbled to win the award.
She said she was the daughter and granddaughter of ranchers who came to appreciate that when you have land, “you’re supposed to take care of it and pass it on.”
Ranching and farming can produce a roller-coaster ride of good and bad times. Mazurek said she has learned how to survive the bad years and be appreciate of the good ones.
Her decision-making skills are a result of a lifetime of living in the country, where Mazurek said you can’t just “run down the street for help” when problems arise.
“You learn to depend on yourself and trust in God,” she said.
She attributed her busy lifestyle at the age of 83 to stubbornness as much as anything.
Mazurek, who also is an active member of the Utopia Baptist Church, said she knows she’s slowed down, but she does what she can do each day and is “glad to do it.”
Kevin Meier, the chairman of the Bandera County Junior Livestock Show Association, has worked with Mazurek for about 20 years and calls her “a pillar of the community.”
“She’s a hard worker, and she’s irreplaceable,” he said.
Bandera County Judge Richard Evans also has a long history with Mazurek and remembers her as his seventh-grade health teacher who has always been focused on what needs to be done and worked to get it done.
“She’s a very deserving person,” said Evans. “Her volunteer efforts have helped a lot of people, and not just in the agricultural world.”