The youngest of four daughters, Meryl was born and raised in the rural village of Mer Rouge, Louisiana, consisting of less than five hundred people. She declined the opportunity to attend Oxford University after completing her degree in International Affairs with a minor in Spanish at the University of Georgia. Instead, she chose to return home to assist her father and continue the family rice business. The Kennedy Family Agribusiness includes rice drying, grain storage, grain marketing, land management, real estate and rice milling.
At the age of 21, she successfully oversaw the start-up and development of Kennedy Rice Mill, LLC (aka., KRM) located in Mer Rouge, Louisiana. KRM is a state-of-the art facility and represents one of the few new rice mills built in the United States in the last quarter-century. Envisioning the need to bring sustainably grown and organic products into the retail rice market, Meryl and her family decided to launch their own brand. As President and Owner, she successfully engineered it's implementation currently packaging organic and sustainably grown products for KRM’s KenChaux brand.
KRM and KenChaux have received several awards by local and state organizations. In 2018, the Morehouse Chamber of Commerce awarded KenChaux with the “Business Innovative Leadership Award”. Kennedy Rice Mill, LLC was recently recognized by Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) as having outstanding achievement among Louisiana manufacturers, being named 2019 “Manufacturer of the Year” in the small business category.
In 2016, to save a failing business in her local community, Meryl took over the assets to a cookie dough manufacturing company. Today, she is the managing Co-Owner and CEO of Neighbors, LLC in West Monroe, Louisiana. Neighbors is a leading manufacture/producer of specialized cookie dough for fundraising, private label, and co-manufacturing partners. Neighbors has been presented with several awards by local and state organizations. Nominated by the City of West Monroe’s Mayor, Neighbors was recently presented with Louisiana Economic Development’s “Lantern Award”, recognizing manufacturers in Northeast Louisiana.
Neighbors was also recognized by the Ouachita Chamber of Commerce for making significant contributions to the Ouachita Parish economy through capital improvements, expansion, job creation, and community involvement, receiving the “Thomas H. Scott” Large Business of the Year Award.
Meryl and her husband, Peyton Farr, reside in Mer Rouge with their five-year-old son, Elton Joseph Farr and one-year-old daughter, Kennedy Anne Farr. In her spare time, she enjoys mentoring young women pursuing careers in agriculture and speaking to local civic organizations. Most of all, she values traveling with her family and spending time with close friends.
Personal Leadership Experience & Honors
The Monroe Chamber of Commerce, Northeast Louisiana Young Professionals
Northeast Louisiana “Top 20 under 40” Young Professional, 2014
Morehouse Economic Development Corporation
Entrepreneur of the Year Award, October 2012
USA Rice Federation
The Rice Foundation Board of Directors, 2019 – Present
USA Rice Board of Directors, 2019 – Present
USA Rice Council Board of Directors, 2019 – Present
USA Rice Executive Committee, 2019 – Present
Rice Millers Association Board of Directors, 2013 – Present
USA Rice PAC Committee Board of Directors, 2013 – Present
USA Rice Millers Association Governmental Relations Committee, 2013 – Present
Community Trust Bank
Advisory Board Member, June 2012 – Present
ULM Foundation, Monroe, Louisiana
Board Member, January 2012 – December 2014
Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance, Monroe, Louisiana
President, November 2011 – Present
United Way, Monroe, Louisiana
Member, December 2011 – Present
YPO, Louisiana Chapter
Member, March 2015 – Present
Engagement Officer Chair, 2018 – 2019
YPO, Western US Regional Executive Committee Officer
Y Chair, 2018 – 2019
YPO Harvard 2015 – 2017
Advisory Board Member, January 2020 – January 2022
Louisiana Association of Business and Industry
Board Member 2018 – Present
Boys & Girls Club in Louisiana
Board Member 2019 – Present