Hometown: Hermitage, Mo.
In Town: Kathy Garrison has been the agent at the Hickory County Farm Bureau since 2010.
“I really like working with my customers and getting to know the community,” she said. “Growing up in Preston, Mo., I knew most everybody from that side of the county, now I get to work with the ones on this side of the county, too. It really gives you a strong sense of community when you know these people.”
She has also been president of the Hickory County Extension Council, and has been involved in various other community events and programs
In The Country: Kathy grew up on her family’s Hickory County, Mo., dairy farm, which is still in operation near Preston, Mo. She and John, also a lifetime Hickory County resident, own a 60-acre farm between Wheatland and Hermitage, Mo., where they raise commercial Angus cattle.
“We’ve been doing it for a few years and are just slowly building up our herd and we’ve got room to grow. We both really love it. …We both have full time jobs, but we still want to farm. For us, it’s about being about being around the cows and taking care of them.”
They are very particular about what traits they want for their animals.
“We want them to produce,” Kathy said, adding that they currently have about 15 head of females. They hope to expand their herd in the future.
The couple are also foster parents. They like to share their farming way of life with the children in their care.
Having a farming background, Kathy said, is an advantage in a community where the majority of her clients are farmers.
“When they talk about insuring their hay or baler, most of the time I know exactly what they are talking about,” she said. “When they tell me that they paid $100,000 for a new John Deere tractor, I don’t bat an eye.”
Kathy is also expanding her own agriculture experiences by learning about honey bees.
“I just have one hive right now, but that is a little side project for me,” he said. “I attended an Extension seminar and was really impressed with how smart they are and how organized they are. They are actually smart creatures for as small as they are, and then there are the health benefits in honey.”
She has had the bees for about two years and the harvested honey has been for their own use, but Kathy said she hopes to expand her hives as well.