Fueling Future Farmers — the Alexander Family
The Alexander Family: #FuelingFutureFarmers
In #AgriReady Webster County, near Fordland, Mark and Emma Alexander operate a diversified farm. They host a small herd of beef cattle, an annual group of feeder hogs, a flock of goats, utilize working dogs, and grow perennial flowers. Mark believes this diversity supports the family across multiple seasons and provides a variety of ways for their young sons Lucas, 13, and Travis, 8, to learn about the agriculture industry and the vocation of farming.
“We may grow and sell beef, pork, goats, or flowers, but our ultimate goal is to grow farmers,” Mark said.
Mark works in the telecommunications industry but recognizes the value of the farming lifestyle that has been a part of Emma’s family for generations. The Alexanders see their farm as the best way for their sons to develop citizenship character and learn working skills that will prepare them to carry on the family tradition of agriculture if they so choose.
The goat flock began as a 4-H project for Lucas over five years ago when he joined 4-H at 8 years old. Lucas has met a variety of mentors in the goat industry that have helped him learn husbandry practices that now lead to a successful crop of goat kids for him to sell each year. Lucas’s younger brother, Travis, enjoys feeding and working with the hogs and is learning to keep records about working the livestock. Both boys get excited about the cattle operation, a joint business effort with their uncle and great-uncle.
Emma has worked in the horticulture industry for nearly 20 years. She grows the perennial flowers on the farm and offers them for sale at a seasonal retail greenhouse along with other garden necessities in the spring and fall. She enjoys the challenge of marketing for the greenhouse business and for the family’s newer direct-to-consumer business marketing their beef and pork.
The Alexanders are heavily involved in their local 4-H club and serve in their church congregation. Mark and Emma are on the Webster County Farm Bureau Board and have served on the Missouri State Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee for Missouri Farm Bureau. They do their best to involve Lucas and Travis in their agricultural and Farm Bureau activities so the boys can learn first-hand the importance of advocacy, too.