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?