Hometown: Wheatland, Mo.

Family: Husband, Matt; children, Gage (18), Alyee (15), Kane (8) and Colt (3 1/2)

In Town: Allison Gunter is with the University of Missouri Extension as a county engagement specialist and nutrition and health education specialist.

“With the nutrition side, it’s mostly geared toward older adults and working to keep them independent longer,” Allison explained. “It encompasses all healthy living, and can be food and diet, exercise and mental health, like helping older people get over the fear of falling. We also do cooking classes for families.”

On the community engagement side of her position, Allison works to bring more awareness about the University of Missouri Extension and what it has to offer to a community.

“I work to bridge the gap between the community and Extension,” Allison said. “We have a ton of services and we want to find out what the needs of the community are and serve them through Extension.”

In the Country: Allison grew up in Hickory County, Mo., where her father had a dairy farm for a number of years. After he stopped milking, Allison spent time at her aunt and uncle’s ranch in Cross Timbers, Mo.

She and Matt, who is the principal at Wheatland High School, married 12 years ago, and the family’s farming operation began to grow.

“I think Matt had like 15 cows when we got married, now we’ve got over 200, so we’ve grown,” Allison said with a laugh.

The Gunter family runs a commercial cow/calf herd on their 40 acres, plus they rent additional acreage from Matt’s grandmother, Shirley Costelow.

Allison added that Matt also buys open females annually, breeds them and then sells them as bred females in the fall.

The Gunters also grow some wheat and produce fescue seed. Gage and Matt also do some custom combining.

Allison admits the bulk of the farming is up to Matt and Gunter, but she helps when and where she can, and there’s no place she would rather be.

“It’s a great environment for my kids,” she said. “It teaches them responsibility, about animals and how hard things can be. They also just have fun. Colt loves to go check the cows with his dad, and the kids take care of the cows when they’re sick. It’s just a wonderful experience.”

As for the future, Allison said Matt is looking forward to his eventual retirement and becoming a full-time cattleman.

“He’s convinced me that’s what he needs to do,” Allison said. “My family is just so much happier and content on the farm, even if everyone is having a bad day. Matt and Gage are looking forward to partnering on some things, so it’s great to have another generation. Matt’s grandfather, John Costelow, was a farmer and that’s how Matt got into it and where his love of farming came from, so I think Matt and Gage will have fun with it.”


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