Across Missouri, thousands of farmers, ranchers and producers form the backbone of the state’s agriculture industry – and they’ve got a story to tell. In fact, Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) officials went to great lengths to capture the stories of these men and women by traveling thousands of miles and recording stories for a new video series, My Farm, My Story.
MDA visited farms and ranches throughout 2015 and filmed nearly 60 farmers and farm families for the series. Then, in January 2016, the series made its debut, with the department unveiling a new video interview each week on YouTube, youtube.com/MOAgriculture, and on MDA’s Facebook page, facebook.com/MoAgriculture.
MDA Director Richard Fordyce says the timing was right for this type of project. “In Missouri agriculture, we’ve been challenged time and time again with the responsibility
of opening the farm gate and letting consumers in. From that challenge, the My Farm, My Story video series was born,” Fordyce says. “Our video interviews display the passion, emotion and dedication demonstrated by our farm families every single day.”
Featured folks include Natalie Sprink from Frohna, who works for her family company, East Perry Lumber Company. She advocates for the timber industry. And there’s Jason Bean, a fifth-generation farmer in Peach Orchard, who says in his story: “Missouri agriculture is fantastic. Look at our state – we are so diverse.” Even Fordyce, a fourth-generation row crop and beef cattle farmer in Bethany, has his own My Farm, My Story video.
Also featured is the Moore family, who owns and operates Joplin Regional Stockyards. In this video, Claude Moore sits with his son, Jackie, while grandsons Bailey and Skyler stand behind him. They talk about how important agriculture is to their lives.
“It’s a good thing for agriculture,” Bailey Moore says when asked about the impact of the My Farm, My Story series.
He says agriculture is more than business – it’s part of life.
“I wouldn’t say it’s for the money, but for the love of what we do. We love cattle, and dealing with cattle and taking care of them. We love people who are interested in this business. We just love all the aspects of the business,” Moore says. “And there are a lot of people just like us. It’s a family heritage to do what we do. It’s a love of the game more so than it is the business side of it. I think it’s good for people to see that.”
Moore recognizes the importance of technology in today’s world. Just like how technological advancements allow anyone with internet access to watch My Farm, My Story, it’s also making a big difference for the agriculture industry.
“We’ve come up with our own Joplin stockyard app,” he says. “It used to be (in our business) you’d buy a pickup and drive 200,000 miles each year and go see everybody. Now you can communicate with them through email or the app, or they get on your website.”
Brent Sandidge, owner of Ham Hill Farms in Marshall, is also featured in My Farm, My Story. He talks about the people in agriculture and how the industry is “made up of really, really great folks … the finest people in the world.”
Sandidge says he participated in the series because it’s important to spread the word about Missouri agriculture.
“The more we talk about what we do, and the more people know about it, the better,” he says. “It’s very rewarding raising food. The people I work with are fantastic. Being able to raise a family in rural Missouri is very rewarding.”