To whom much is given, much will be required.
Cherishing the wisdom, hard work and sacrifices of those who went before them, Jared and Alisen Anderson of Miami seem to embody those words each day as they strive to feed the world and one day provide their children with the opportunity to do the same.
The Ottawa County couple today treasure the privilege of being involved in production agriculture that was given to them by their parents and grandparents.
“You hear stories about my grandpa and my dad, and how much they sacrificed and really took a leap and made all this possible,” Jared said. “We understand that you can’t just graduate from college and buy property and get started. This is so hard to start and it’s getting more difficult. We understand this is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing.”
Born in Australia after his family moved across the world to farm and ranch, Jared had the unique opportunity to spend much of his early life on a wheat, milo, cotton, cattle and sheep operation in the land down under. After experiencing a seven-year drought, his family returned to the United States to farm and ranch in northeastern Oklahoma on part of the land that he and Alisen care for today.
Jared has farmed and ranched on his family’s operation for more than two decades, and also started his own row crop farm with help from his father and grandfather. He and Alisen – alongside their three children, Grace, Colton and Piper – today grow wheat, corn and soybeans, and also help run the family’s cattle ranch.
Raised around her grandparents’ livestock and grain farm in northern Indiana, Alisen loved agriculture from an early age and had a deep desire to share it with others as an educator. Her dream became reality as she began her career at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College shortly after finishing her bachelor’s degree and marrying Jared. Mere months into her job as an academic adviser, Alisen was named an agriculture instructor at the college.
Ten years later, she still uses her real-world knowledge and experience from the family farm to invest in her students each day in the classroom.
“God told me that this (teaching) is what I needed to do for the rest of my life,” she said.
Each grateful for the ability to be a part of the family’s legacy, Jared and Alisen are driven every day by the responsibility of passing down their way of life in agriculture to their children.
“Things will get rough, and you’ll be like, ‘Man, I don’t know about this,’” Jared said. “And then you think, ‘Well, Grandpa gave us the opportunity to do this, and my dad did a lot to help us do this, so we can do this for our kids.’”
After all, the Andersons believe no way of life is better than that which provides food for the world.
“There’s nothing greater than being able to say, ‘I helped feed people today,’” she said. “And hopefully our kids, if they want, will be able to do the same with our land.”