Agriculture has been a driving influence at every turn for the Pecks. They have devoted their lives to helping young people see all that agriculture has to offer. In addition to running a cow-calf operation in western Oklahoma, Larry worked as an agricultural education instructor and Mary was a 4-H extension educator.
It was a period of uncertainty in life, however, that led them to their greatest passion: Ag Youth Magazine.
Mary had just been laid off from her job and with two young children at home, the Pecks were uncertain where to turn next. They had always been supportive of 4-H and FFA livestock showing in western Oklahoma, but Mary had an idea to take their support to a new level. They started the magazine to tell positive stories about the outstanding young people involved in agriculture across the Midwest. That was 27 years ago, and they haven’t looked back.
“Everyone told us we couldn’t make it work.” Larry said. “Thankfully, we didn’t listen.”
Like many others, the Pecks benefit from the use of technology that allows them to publish a successful magazine and still have an active role in the day-to-day demands of their two ranches.
“Larry sells ads on horseback.” Mary said. “He is able to work on the magazine while checking on calves or fixing fence.”
Running a successful livestock operation, requires an intimate knowledge of the animals dietary needs and ranchers must pay close attention to the animals to ensure they are getting adequate nutrition.
“There is a lot of science that goes into it. For example, our cows in Woodward county require almost four times more mineral than the ones in Dewey county.” Mary explained. “We want to make sure our animals are in the best condition possible to produce.”
The Pecks are the ideal example of producers across the state who devote their lives to making a positive impact on each life they touch. In a society where we are bombarded with negative news stories every day, they have maintained their focus of telling the positive stories of agricultural youth.
“We have been told many times we could be more successful or sell more ads if we would publish some negative stories. But that isn’t what it is about for us. We don’t even sell the highest priced pages of our magazine – the front and back cover. We reserve those for pictures of the kids and the calendar of important events.” Larry said.
“It’s all about the kids.” Mary concluded.