MURRAY, Ky. — The Hutson School of Agriculture at Murray State University recognized Craig and Joanna Carraway of Calloway County during Homecoming 2018 as the recipients of the third annual Spotlight Alumni Award.
The new award started two years ago as a way for the Hutson School of Agriculture to recognize graduates whose accomplishments deserve a personal spotlight. The 2018 award honors Murray State agriculture graduates Craig, ’97, and Joanna (Payne), ’06, Carraway for their professional success and personal story.
“Craig and Joanna epitomize everything that is right with agriculture,” said Dr. Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture.
Craig and Joanna first met while working in agriculture retail. Soon after the couple married, they decided to establish a tobacco farm in Calloway County and created a list of their goals — both personally and professionally — as the farm continued to grow. Creating a farm that was financially secure became a lifestyle.
The couple’s faith was shaken, however, when Craig was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, and given 14 months to get his affairs in order.
Now, two-and-a-half years later, Craig has undergone numerous surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy. He has remained strong in spite of it all and continues to look ahead with a positive outlook.
“Craig’s illness and diagnosis quickly led this young couple to the realization of what is really important in life,” Brannon said.
The Carraway family has been the ultimate example of learning to refocus when plans leave your control. Craig and Joanna learned to work, to think outside the box and to have faith when their goals became just notes on paper. Life and farming are one in the same, after all: It is not about how much you plan but how much you alter your plans based on the circumstances to reap the fullest rewards.
“In the agriculture industry there is a lot of uncertainty — factors like weather and the economy are out of the control of farmers,” Brannon said. “Every day a farmer wakes up and plans for the best possible circumstances but also prepares for the worst. Farming is a mixture of hard work, innovation and a whole lot of faith. The Carraway family is the greatest example of faith in the field and faith in life. Their courage, faith, strength and love serve as examples for all agriculture.”