Fueling a Farm Story — Vance Keaton

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A biography on Vance Keaton’s life would be full of good stories. Vance is #FuelingAFarmStory on his farm near the community of Coy in the agricultural powerhouse of #AgriReady McDonald County.

Vance grew up on a farm in northwest Arkansas where his parents and grandparents were involved in agriculture, education and University Extension. The family grew blueberries, and Vance spent many summers picking and selling them for large orders and at local farmer’s markets. After all those years, he still likes blueberries! Vance chose to attend the University of Arkansas to obtain a degree in agriculture education. While there, he also met his wife Jennifer who grew up in southern Arkansas on a family farm with crops, livestock and forestry. Vance and Jennifer would write the next chapter of their story together in Columbia, Missouri where Vance taught agriculture education and served as an FFA advisor, while Jennifer attended vet school at the University of Missouri.

Vance and Jennifer wanted to continue their farm story closer to family, establishing roots on 15 acres in Missouri’s southwest corner and starting with three cows. Agriculture provides the economic engine of #AgriReady McDonald County, generating over 83% of the county’s economic activity, over $1.7 billion. Today, Jennifer is a practicing vet, and Vance works in commercial agriculture lending serving many poultry operations. Over the years, their kids Callie, Courtney and Rhett have been involved on the family farm raising and showing cattle and rodeoing. The Keaton family has developed an Angus/Simmental cow-calf operation on their farm. They market pure-bred bulls to commercial growers and raise show quality heifers to sell.

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Vance knows that if agriculturalists today rise to the opportunities to feed, fuel and clothe the world, more of the same opportunities will arise for the next generation of agriculturists and the industry will continue to survive and thrive.

“(American) farmers are feeding the same food to their families that they are growing for the United States and the world, so consumers can be assured that their products are safe, nutritious and affordable,” Vance said.

Volunteering in leadership positions for agriculture is also a chapter in Vance’s farm story. He serves on the University of Arkansas Dean’s Advisory Committee for the College of Agriculture. He is an active leader on the McDonald County Farm Bureau Board which stays busy supporting local FFA chapters with events and contests, helping at the County Fair, and more. Recently, Vance was elected to represent southwest Missouri cattlemen on the Missouri Beef Industry Council. Vance is excited about the position on the Council so he can learn, become even more involved in the cattle industry, and work alongside cattlemen across the state. Missouri Farm Bureau and the Missouri Beef Industry Council are partners of Missouri Farmers Care.