Raised as a fifth-generation Missouri farmer and beef producer, Kalena Bruce, along with her husband Billy and 3-year-old daughter Willa, are showing Missourians what family farming and ranching is all about.

What began in 1847 has continued through generations. And, 171 years later, the Bruces’ legacy continues to contribute to Missouri beef’s $3 billion industry.

Just outside the agriculture-driven community of Stockton lies the Bruce family farm and ranch. As commercial cattle and calf producers, Kalena and Billy’s operation is separate but related to the much larger extended family business.

“My siblings and I have our own separate farms. In addition, we all also work on our parents’ much larger farm,” Kalena says. “We all work together. We share equipment, labor, and each others’ specialized knowledge.”

For the Bruces, their specialty is beef production. Raising a cattle herd that has been continuous for years, the Bruces add calves that will contribute to their herd’s genetics and sell the steers to feedlots, contributing food to a much-needed market.

Courtesy Kalena Bruce

“Food security will become the main topic in the future,” Kalena says.

The Bruce farm is very integrated since they grow their own hay and corn for feeding, she says. When they need a bull for the herd, they look no further than the family.

While she and her family know the importance that farmers and ranchers have on Missouri agriculture, Kalena and her husband decided they would open up their farm and ranch to agritourism. This allows people to see how a farm and ranch works and where their food comes from, not to mention other items that begin in the agriculture industry. Kalena says agriculture is a part of all facets of her community.

“Agriculture is what pushes our local economy,” she says. “Most of Missouri is that way, it’s our number one industry.”

Kalena would not have it any other way.

“We love to farm and ranch and we love to advocate for agriculture. We are all hard-working farmers and ranchers trying to raise the best food possible.”

Courtesy Beef Checkoff

Recipe: Mexican-Style Slow Cooker Shredded Beef

Courtesy of the Beef Checkoff

Ingredients >

  • 2- to 2½-pound boneless beef roast (shoulder, arm, blade, or chuck)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup salsa Assorted toppings

Directions >

  1. For optional browning, heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Brown beef roast on all sides.
  2. Place onion and garlic in 3½- to 5-quart quart slow cooker; place roast on top. Cover and cook on low 9 to 10 hours or on high 5 to 6 hours or until roast is forktender.
  3. Remove roast from slow cooker. Skim fat from cooking liquid, if necessary. Reserve 1 cup onion mixture. Shred beef with 2 forks.
  4. Combine shredded beef and reserved onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.
  5. Combine tomato or tomatillo salsa and beef mixture, as desired. Place in large microwave-safe bowl. Cover, vent and microwave until heated through, stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve in warmed flour or corn tortillas or in roasted pepper boats topped with pico de gallo, sliced avocados, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, grilled corn, and/or chopped white or green onions, as desired.

For three other variations of slow cooker shredded beef, visit BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com

Top photo by Stijn te Strake on Unsplash