On Tuesday, the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Committee hosted the Annual 2017 Agriculture Appreciation Banquet at the Neosho High School's cafeteria.

On Tuesday, the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Committee hosted the Annual 2017 Agriculture Appreciation Banquet at the Neosho High School's cafeteria.
The banquet catered to those in Newton and McDonald County who work to further Missouri’s agriculture, including teachers, farmers, professionals and educators. Along with the catered dinner, there were informational booths, door prizes and a guest speaker, Carey Portell.
Portell used her experiences from being severely injured by a drunk driver and yet living life on the family farm, to inspire others around her.
"I am a cattle farmer and I was hit by a drunk driver six years ago, that nearly made it impossible for me to continue cattle farming," she said.
During her speech, she talked about a program called AgrAbility from the MU Extension.
"AgrAbility is a program that is funded to help farmers continue farming," she said. "What I explain to them what AgrAbility considers a disability I don't think that most people would consider that, so I want to give that information, whether you have injuries like mine or whether it is just advanced age, they can help you continue farming if that is what you wanting to do."
Portell also gave motivation to the young farmers.
"I want to give them the motivation that regardless of whatever challenge they have, they can definitely go into a career in Ag career if they want to," she said. "And the other aspect is I definitely talk to them about one making the right choices, positive choices, and if something ever should happen to them, I talk about the motivation that it is grace and grit is what I call it. To be able to move on from that challenge, that your life doesn't stop just because something bad happens to you, you can move onto that."
She has 120 head of cattle on her Missouri farm.
"Right now, I am doing OK, I finally stopped having surgeries for a while," Portell said. "I just continued basically, farming is my physical therapy. I do that everyday to a certain extent. i have to watch it because my injuries are permanent and it definitely causes me a lot of pain. but I am finally on a tract where I can look toward the future."
Portell was pleased to speak during the Tuesday banquet and also travels across the state as a motivational speaker.
"I have seen huge increase in just the talking about Ag in society, so I love to see that coming to the surface, because it has kind of been in the background for many years and I think now that people (know) how important Ag is," she said. "So being able to tell people that we have made all of these advancements for people who aren't 100 percent anymore, that there is an option out there for them, they just need the information and knowledge on how to do that."