Monday, May 13, 2013

Luella from Luella's Front Porch

Today we welcome Missouri native and farm girl Luella! Luella shares with us her typical day working in social media with the Missouri Soybean Association and Missouri Farmers Care, and how being raised as a farm kid made her who she is today. 

Luella and Australian Shepherd, Lucy

Hello from Missouri, a state rich and diverse in agriculture! Missouri is ranked in the top ten for beef, hay, turkey, corn, dairy, rice, soybean, cotton, ice cream, and watermelon production. With a variety of climate and soil types, Missouri is ranked second in the number of farms in the U.S. I am proud to be involved in one of the nearly 106,000 farms in the state. Missouri’s diverse landscape is home to many fruit orchards, vineyards, crop, livestock and diversified farms.

I grew up on a fifth generation row crop farm in east central Missouri. My passion for agriculture began early on and as farm kids. Little did we know, that it would be one of the greatest gifts we could ever be given and most influential part of my life. Looking back now, I thank God every day that we were raised to understand work ethic, self-sufficiency and the common sense values that I believe truly lead to success and happiness. I only hope that I can provide my family with the same experiences someday.

Growing up, we raised corn, wheat, soybeans and hay on our farm. My brother sells seed and has a specialty hay business that supports the St. Louis area. Today I am more involved in beef cattle production and enjoy livestock in addition to crops and hay. My grandpa has Hereford cattle on pasture, which has neighbored our house for as long as I can remember. I am constantly inspired by my 90-year old grandpa’s clear mind and memories of agriculture growing up in the 30’s. A lot has changed. But the honor and integrity of a farm family will always remain the same.

My typical day begins with managing social media, posting visuals or doing some writing in response to common questions or inquiries. However, every day is different. Some days are spent in the classroom and at other educational events, where I talk to students about agriculture and products they use every day. Other days are spent responding to media stories, or consumer questions about agriculture, maintaining public relations within our industry through grower communications and other communication tools.

As Manager of Communications for the Missouri Soybean Association and Merchandising Council, I have the opportunity to promote agriculture in many ways. I work on a variety of projects, maintain social media sites, lead efforts within our CommonGround consumer education program, as well as do layout for the Missouri Soybean Farmer magazine. Within the publication, we focus on stories that can benefit Missouri soybean farmers, including crop and weed management, ongoing research projects, the economic value of soybeans to Missouri as well animal agriculture, biodiesel, policy issues that impact the industry and consumer advocacy.

Missouri Soybean is an active member of a collaborative effort and organization, called, “Missouri Farmers Care.” Missouri Farmers Care is made up of many of the state’s agricultural groups and was established to promote the continued growth of Missouri agriculture and rural communities through coordinated communication, education and advocacy.

Within Missouri Farmers Care, I have been involved in influencer events, including “Safe at the Plate,” educational campaign with the St. Louis Cardinals. We also organize farm tours and other educational experiences for grocers, restaurant owners and dieticians, in an effort to provide a direct source for information to build trust with the consumer.

One of my main focuses is a third grade agriculture education program, entitled “Ag Education on the Move,” through Missouri Farmers Care, where we engage students with interactive and hands-on activities, like bread in a bag and garden in a glove.

I think it is so important to plant a seed early on while children are open-minded and excited to learn. The hands-on program allows students to develop an understanding of where their food comes from over a ten-week period and includes lessons on beef, dairy, pork, poultry, soybeans, wheat, corn, soils, nutrition and careers. I have endless positive stories to share from the classroom, where agriculture has left a lasting impression on a child. . Educating children about agriculture continues to be one of my most fulfilling endeavors. It is crucial that we teach our children that their food doesn’t appear on a grocery store shelf.

Teaching children about agriculture and products they use every day.
When not involved in ag advocacy work, I enjoy being as involved on the farm as possible, by feeding, raking hay and doing other various chores. I have always enjoyed gardening and canning.
Feeding silage to calves.

In my downtime, I enjoy writing stories for my blog and creating visuals for my social media and website, and am currently working on agricultural focused children’s books. I also love to go fishing, mushroom hunting and do freelance writing. 

Type of visuals I enjoy creating for Luella's Front Porch website and social media.

Through my personal website, and blog,, I address common misconceptions, while sharing heartfelt stories and visuals about farm life and the thousands of farm families who share the same passion and lifestyle. I also develop greeting cards that promote agriculture. Cards include Christmas, Notecard sets and other holidays. 

Mother's Day Card
Along with addressing concerns, my love for cooking allows me to share ag facts through favorite recipes within the recipe portion of my site. When selling baked items, I take the opportunity to remind consumers that “Life is sweet, so thank a farmer.” You will often catch me baking bread or creating a new pork or beef recipe on most week nights. It is like my “therapy.” I enjoy being able to cook from scratch and tie my love for ag advocacy to the mix.

I have always said that farm life is not an easy life, but it is a rewarding life. Farm families make many sacrifices to ensure their livestock, land and natural resources are cared for and protected for future generations. I think, often, one of the greatest misconceptions or unknown facts is the upmost care a farmer has for their crops and livestock and that the majority of farms (98%) are family farms. Farmers work endless hours while making sacrifices others take for granted. At the end of the day, we are upholding family traditions passed down by generation after generation. Farmers work 365 days a year. There are no snow days or paid holidays. Livestock eat before we do. Christmas morning waits until after the livestock is fed and date night is a tractor ride or picnic in the field during planting, harvest and caving time. I think it is often difficult to express just how much time and care is put into providing food and everyday products we often take for granted in this country.

We face a harsh reality that we no longer can assume that agriculture is understood. For farmers, who are too busy on the farm to always tell their story have realized that they must begin or their story will be told for them. We are constantly being targeted by a variety of topics and we have to pro-active in providing resources and answers to top concerns.

I believe that everyone can make a difference and everyone has a story to tell. With a world full of technology and communication tools, we often forget how to communicate effectively. We need to be as transparent as possible. I am proud to be a part of the most important industry in the world and the values learned as farm kids have taught me many things. One, being that when you love what you do, you’ve hit the jackpot. There are some things in this life you can’t put a price tag on. Typically, those are things that are worth the most.

Thank our farmers today. For recipes, stories and rural life, visit Follow me on my blog at Find me on facebook and Pinterest at Luella’s Front Porch, I always enjoy hearing from other ag enthusiasts, I would be glad to hear from you!

Luella’s Easy Pulled Pork Sliders & Homemade Buns- great for farm families who never know when they will be in for dinner time. The pork stays warm nicely. Serves 4.

Crockpot Pulled Pork

3- center cut pork chops
1 cup favorite BBQ sauce
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

Put all ingredients into crockpot on high. Cook until meat is cooked through. Reduce settings to warm. Great for farm families, when you are not sure when the guys will be into eat!

Homemade buns:

2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tbs. honey
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt and honey, and enough flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 12 pieces; shape each into a ball. Place 3 in. apart on greased baking sheets.

Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 1 dozen.

Thanks to Luella for this great post! Be sure to check out her blog and Facebook page

Remember - to keep these great stories coming we need YOU! Contact us now to find out how you can be the next Face of Agriculture, we need your story today! 

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