Our Way Of Life

Our Way of Life

My name is Alison McGrew and I am from Good Hope, Illinois.  I am one of many Ask The Farmers volunteers that simply volunteers time to answer consumer questions regarding agriculture!  My family and I raise beef cattle on our farm, but I grew up on a grain (corn, soybeans, and wheat) farm.  My husband is the manager at a family-owned farm supply company so from time to time I will ask him to help me out with questions regarding seed, chemicals, fertilizer, etc.!

My entire way of life has been centered around agriculture and farming.  My parents encouraged me to explore my options when it came to my career, but I kept reverting back to agriculture and more specifically agriculture education.  I graduated from college and became a high school agriculture education teacher and FFA advisor and loved every second…for the most part.  It is a very time consuming job, but extremely rewarding at the same time!  The truth is, I just loved teaching others about the things I was most passionate about.  I taught for eight years and made the decision to resign and leave the profession.  I had to take a break from the current situation.  It was best for myself and more importantly, my family.  I do not regret my decision at all, but I miss my students & colleagues terribly.  I miss that “ah-ha” moment when I was starting a new unit and things just started to click for them.  I have no doubts that someday I will be in the teacher role again, but for now I am living life.

Calves at the bunk

Snowball fight & chores!

My passion for agriculture is so rich that I find myself getting emotional when someone asks me why I do what I do.  Nobody ever told me that I had to be a beef producer.  Nobody ever told me to carry on with my agriculture roots.  Nobody ever made me earn a degree and start a career as an agriculture education teacher.  Being a part of agriculture made me happy.  It is who I am and for that I am very grateful.  There are some people that work their entire lives to get to do what they want.  I get to do that everyday.  Both my husband and I have full-time jobs, so our cows and our farm are our hobby.  Our cows are our weekends.  Our kids are a part of that 100% as well.  Someday they will know the importance of that.

Our beef herd consists of 35 Simmental and SimAngus cow/calf pairs.  As I mentioned before, our cows are our hobby.  I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want to go buy more pasture ground and maintain a herd close to 100!  I could definitely find plenty of “things” to fill my time and not work! 🙂  All of our cows calve within about 60 days of each other and although that is the most stressful time of year – I wouldn’t have it any other way.  My crock pot and I are best friends during calving time.  The barn needs cleaned, the new calves need tagged & given their first booster shots.  Getting in the house before 7:00 p.m. is near impossible!  Our kids know more about cows than some may ever know in a lifetime.  Most of the cows are purebred and therefore have a registration paper with their name, birth date, dam (mother), sire (father), etc.  The majority of those registration papers list one of the kids as the owner!  My 6 year old technically owns more cows than I do.  She thinks that is pretty cool.

Payton helping put mineral and salt out for our replacement heifers.

Thou he may be small, he is mighty!

Agriculture is our way of life and we take pride in providing food (BEEF!) for consumers across the world.  I encourage you to ask questions from the experts themselves – the farmers!

Below are some pictures of what life is like on our small Illinois beef cattle farm!

Nolan “helping” Daddy vaccinate calves.


Tractor selfie moving to a different field during 2014 corn harvest.

Tractor selfie moving to a different field during 2014 corn harvest.


About Alison McGrew

Alison McGrew is a fourth generation beef cattle producer from Good Hope, Illinois. She grew up on a small corn, soybean, beef cattle & Standardbred racehorse farm in Central Illinois. She now resides in West Central Illinois near Macomb. She and her husband as well as their two children own McGrew Cattle and focus on Simmental and SimAngus genetics with their small 40 head cow/calf operation. Alison is a high school agriculture educator so her passion to educate others runs deep. She spends a lot of free time advocating for agriculture through the Tri-County Cattlemen's Association, Illinois Farm Families group, Illinois Beef Association and Illinois Cattlewomen.


  1. pat oxley says:

    great job ‘ I am very proud of you and your love for the cattle and your family\

    love grani

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