It was at the University of Missouri, during a sophomore year lecture class in Waters Auditorium, where Don Ranly, journalism professor emeritus, gave Christi Miller the idea for agricultural journalism. Within the next 24 hours, Miller had changed her major and her career path.
“Moving to the College of Agriculture was the best thing I could have done,” said Miller, now an active College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Alumni Board member.
Miller grew up in Versailles, Missouri, a small town in Morgan County that serves as a gateway to the Lake of the Ozarks. She was raised on a cow-calf operation before attending MU to major in agricultural journalism.
After graduation in 1992, Miller made the move to west Texas to work for the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). It was there that Miller started as a field editor and successfully worked her way up to magazine editor. Since then, Miller has worked for Missouri Corn Growers Association, Missouri Pork Association and Boone Electric Cooperative before coming to work for the Missouri Department of Agriculture in Jefferson City.
Miller is the Missouri Grown Manager at MDA, where she works with a team of marketing specialists to promote the products of Missourians who raise, grow or produce food, wine, cattle and cotton.
“We connect producers to consumers and consumers to agriculture,” Miller said.
As fall and agritourism seasons quickly approach, Miller’s passion for agriculture and the farmers and ranchers she helps every day is apparent. She said there is an easy way consumers can have an impact.
“Get to know your farmers and ranchers, understand what they do, and appreciate what they do,” she said.
Since starting with Missouri Grown in March 2016, Miller and her team have been working full throttle to promote Missouri agriculture. They work with producers from all across the state, from farmers and farmers markets to food service personnel. Miller’s favorite part of the job is going to find new parts of agriculture that she hasn’t been around, such as dairy.
As a manager and team member, Miller knows how important leadership skills are for a productive team.
“I think the biggest difference that Christi has compared to other bosses that I have had, is the fact that she gives you kind of free range of projects,” said Ryan Siegel, Missouri Grown intern, and a junior at MU majoring in agricultural communications.
“Christi is really good about encouraging her staff to take advantage of opportunities for professional development and different trainings that will help us be successful in our individual roles and responsibilities here at the department, but then also help us contribute to the team as a whole, “ said Taylor Tuttle, a marketing specialist for the Domestic Marketing team at the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
Throughout her time at Mizzou and working across the state promoting Missouri agriculture, Miller has never been afraid to put herself out there. She stays busy by working to help everyday consumers know that farmers and ranchers have a very important job.