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Missouri Department of Agriculture employee wants to connect consumers to local products

Missouri Department of Agriculture employee wants to connect consumers to local products

June 23rd, 2019 by Danisha Hogue in Local News

Missouri Department of Agriculture's Taylor Tuttle poses in the lobby of the department's headquarters on Missouri Boulevard.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

Taylor Tuttle believes in the advancement and education of local agriculture.

A marketing specialist at the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the Cooper County resident grew up on a family farm in Tipton.

After five years as director of education and marketing for Missouri Beef Industry Council, she is excited to expand her knowledge of agriculture and continue educating the next generation.

“One of my favorite things growing up was having the opportunity to bring my family and friends, who didn’t come from an agriculture background, out to the farm to show them what we did, why we did it and why it was important,” Tuttle said.

Her duties with the department of agriculture include education outreach for farm to school, farm to institution and Missouri Grown. These programs link local products to thousands of consumers.

As the business changes, Tuttle said, consumers have become disconnected from the farm process.

“There’s a little bit of a gap there between the producer and the consumer,” she said. “Sometimes there’s a lot of misinformation that’s circulated. … In the world of the internet and social media, it’s an excellent tool to get to share stories. It’s also an easy way to share misinformation.”

Part of the solution, she said, is going to the source and asking producers questions about the process. Challenges are a part of life, but a positive attitude can allow anyone to “find that silver lining,” Tuttle said.

Working directly with people on the farm is one of her favorite parts of the job, she added.

Passionate about farming in high school, she joined Tipton FFA. Her commitment of service led to becoming a state officer after graduating. In April, she earned her an honorary FFA degree from the Missouri FFA Association.

“I wanted to be able to stick around and help those students,” Tuttle said. “There were folks there to help me. … If I can be of service to the next generation and help lift them up and help them have those same opportunities, that’s really why I continued to stay involved in FFA and give back.”

Tuttle owns a small cattle farm with her husband, Jonathan. Continuing their traditions, they raise their two daughters, Ruby and Tilly, who they hope will be the next generation of young, determined and hard-working farmers.