Posted on August 17, 2014 at 10:38 PM by Global Reach
Larry and Mary Lou Johnson reside in rural Maquoketa where they own and operate the family farm. While still in high school, Larry started farming with 25 head of cows and feeder cattle, 200 hogs and 80 acres of corn. Today, the operation has grown to 450 stock cows, 4,500 cattle on feed, and 2,000 acres of corn, soybeans, and alfalfa.
Larry and Mary Lou are active members of the Jackson County Fair Board Association. Mary Lou helps run the queen contest and state fair talent search.
They also play active roles in 4-H. They assist young 4-H members in their search for bucket/bottle calves to learn about and show at the county fair. They also help with the Jackson County Special Steer Class each year at the fair. This program gives 4-H members who do not have the resources the ability to work with a steer for the fair and gain valuable experience. They support the 4-H auction by purchasing livestock each year and helping get the cattle to local locker from the auction.
They have both held leadership roles in the Jackson County Cattlemen. Mary Lou remains in charge of the search for the Beef Queen, Princess, Beef Team and Beef Ambassadors representing the Jackson County Cattlemen each year. Larry has been actively involved in the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association for the past 6 years. He currently holds the Northeast Regional Vice President role. He is also involved in Prognosticators and Knights of Columbus.
As a Jackson County Master Gardener, Mary Lou assists with numerous club-sponsored community service projects throughout the county. Being a poll worker, her face has greeted many voters. She serves as secretary for the Jackson County Extension Council. She has also worked with local youth, leading the Preston Trailblazers 4-H Club for over 14 years, 4-H Food Stand Committee member and has served as a judge for Clover Kids exhibits for many years.
The Johnson’s three children have all returned home to work on the family farm. Larry and Mary Lou instilled the importance of dedication and working hard to achieve success. This started at a very young age when they encouraged their children to join 4-H, and later, FFA. They understood 4-H and FFA would help their children develop citizenship, leadership, and responsibility.
Following in their parents’ footsteps, their children are also committed to their own involvement in the community through various organizations. They too are becoming role models for the next generation, passing on the life lessons they were taught by Larry and Mary Lou. Life on the farm is not easy and glamorous, but it is one that teaches us the value of our time and resources, and perhaps most importantly, the value of family. 4-H and farming is a daily reminder of who we are and where we came from and Larry and Mary Lou Johnson exemplify what it means to be in a 4-H farming family.