In fact, some of her biggest life moments have happened because of the fair. It’s where she met her husband, both of them fitting cattle to pay their way through college, and it was during the fair when her second daughter was born.
Johansen grew up going to the State Fair every year, only missing a handful of times. It was her playground, the place where she grew in her appreciation of Missouri’s agriculture industry.
And now, Johansen has a chance to make her mark on the annual event that is such an integral part of her life as the newest member of the State Fair Commission.
Johansen, 37, was approved by senators earlier this year to serve on the commission.
“I have known Jamie for several years, and I believe she will make a great addition to the State Fair Commission,” Sen. Sandy Crawford told The Missouri Times. “Using her background in agriculture and her work experience in both communications and marketing, she will bring a wealth of knowledge from her generation’s perspective.”
Residing in Lebanon, Johansen runs Honeycreek Media, a content creation and public relations firm, along with her sister, Joanna Wilkinson. She also manages three family farms along with her husband, brother, father, and father-in-law in Laclede, Lawrence, and Moniteau counties where they raise Charolais and Hereford cattle.
As the newest member of the State Fair Commission, Johansen is looking ahead to what the fair can bring for the next generation — specifically with her daughters (Harper, 8, and Ivee Mae, 2) in mind.
“The foundation of state fairs across the country was agriculture, and many state fairs have lost that essence,” Johansen said in an interview. “The one thing Missouri prides itself on is truly being a center for agriculture education and exhibition. We want to have fun, but we want to celebrate the history of our fair, the history of our state, and the diversity of Missouri agriculture — from beef to poultry and from cotton to peanuts and from corn to soybeans and everything in between.”
“That’s why the fair is there: Not only to create a hands-on learning opportunity for those youth and exhibitors, but it’s to showcase Missouri agriculture, and I want to preserve that essence for future generations,” she continued.
Johansen, who grew up in Lawrence County, said she’s been interested in serving for a while but wasn’t sure in what capacity.
But growing up attending the fair every year, and with her background in both media and livestock exhibitions, she’s a natural ambassador for all of it — from the animals to the shows to the food and more.
“The future is going to be awesome,” Johansen said. “We’re very fortunate to have a governor who is a full supporter of agriculture [and] a cheerleader for the State Fair. There are some really cool things happening very soon in the coming months and years as we progress into the future of the fair. It’s exciting to be sitting at that table.”
“I’m just humbled and honored to be given this opportunity,” she said.
The nine-member Missouri State Fair Commission was established in 1995 by the legislature to oversee the fair’s operation, from the selection of the fair director to the ability to lease or purchase land.
Commissioners serve four-year terms and are active farmers, presidents of county or regional fair boards, agribusiness workers, and at-large members. The Department of Agriculture director is also a member of the commission.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn was the editor in chief of The Missouri Times from 2020-2022. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.