AgProud: In My DNA – Leslie Pierson


As a kid that grew up in a city, I’m often asked where my passion for agriculture comes from. Like many people, I am two generations removed from production agriculture and share the very common story of spending time on a family farm when I was young. Recently, an Oklahoma Ag Extension Agent explained this anomaly by saying, “Honey, people like us must have Ag in our DNA; otherwise we just wouldn’t do it.” He may be right, but, I also know my family-farm connection planted the seeds for something I can’t shake; nor want to.

I attribute my love for agriculture to my Great Uncle Jack and the Black Baldies he and my Aunt Jean raised in IL. Time spent on that farm shaped not only my foundation, but my future as well. I was exposed to: honest work ethic, strength of families, caring for the land, raising animals humanely, the miracle of life, the pride and joy earned from hands-on physical labor, and the unique ability to influence something that truly matters. It also taught me a lot about taking risks and following my heart; the lessons learned there are priceless.

Since then, I remain drawn to agriculture like a magnet. Through my employment or activity in Ag-related associations, I am blessed daily by this industry and its people; nothing has enriched my life more. Beyond food and fiber production, agriculture is a lifestyle and culture that I am proud to share with others, especially when people with similar city roots listen. My aggie DNA wouldn’t have it any other way.

Leslie Pierson can be found in Oklahoma and online on Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to check out the rest of my month-long series featuring farmers, ranchers, and consumers from diverse areas of Agriculture. Why are YOU Agriculture Proud?

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9 Comments

  1. I could not have worded this better, this seems to be trendy among all of us. The Ag in our DNA is such a great way to describe the passion we have for production agriculture, stories like this are what makes it all worthwhile, not to mention get the attention of non ag people that need something like this to read so they understand what its all about!

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  2. As another city kid in agriculture, I couldn’t agree more! I always find the stories that get city kids involved with agriculture very interesting. Thanks for the post.

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  3. It was nice to read your article about not being a traditional “Ag” person. It made me feel not so alone. I have a similar story although I am much older. My parents grew up and were farmers in the sand hills of Nebraska. My father left the farm before I was born and the family moved to California (I have an older sister) but things didn’t work out there so nine days after I was born we moved back to Nebraska. Back to farming, my father was plagued by allergies and diagnosed with hay fever. He was told that moving to a warm dry climate would help. So when I was four we moved to Arizona you can’t get much warmer or dryer.
    I always tell people that I grew up mostly in the city but with farm values. We lived in Arizona for five years before we made a trip back to Nebraska. My dad’s brother still lived and worked a farm in Nebraska. My uncle raised Angus and farmed primarily corn and wheat. I always loved visiting there both my grandparents lived in the small town close by, making it a full visit with relatives when we went to Lewellen.
    I understand your feeling that agriculture is in your DNA, I always felt comfortable in the city and the country and felt ties to the farm. We moved from Arizona to Colorado after seven years, this made the distance to grandmas only a four hour drive so we were able to go visit more often and my older sister and I were allowed to go and spend a week by ourselves at grandmas.
    Two years after our move to Colorado my dad got a job milking cows outside Fort Collins so we moved to the country. I was just starting junior high, It was great and my real firsthand experience of being on a farm. We had an alfalfa field that surrounded our house on three sides. When it had been baled we would go outside and jump the bales. We joined 4-H, I wanted one of my uncles Angus to show but my dad wouldn’t let us have one. He thought they were too big for us and we would get hurt. So we got sheep instead.
    To shorten this story my first real job was as a secretary at a feed and Grain Company in eastern Colorado, married moved to Missouri, raised four children and because of the FFA organization and the opportunities it provided my children I decided to return to school and get my bachelor degree in agriculture education and just graduated in December. I am behind a lot of years in learning more about farm life but will be catching up as I go along. Keep up your posting and check me out on mstracistrails.wordpress.com if you want to learn more about my “third life”.

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