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This blog serves as an outpost to reminisce about farm life and living in a rural community. Let’s sit down (okay, via blog) to tell our fondest tales about the country and rural America. Shall we begin?

Beginnings …

Julie Murphree was born in Mesa, Arizona to Pat and Pennee Murphree. Pat, an Arizona farm boy, and Pennee, an Iowa farm girl, were in the hay baling business when Julie, their second child, arrived.

Julie’s parents created an idyllic and loving family setting for her and siblings and from it emerged an idealistic and romantic outlook on life, especially as it relates to family. She was always encouraged to pursue her dreams (and also be realistic about one’s talents). One of her earliest childhood memories was the excitement of getting to sleep in the living room on the pull-out couch with her older brother, Brent. It felt like a camp out. On cool spring evenings their mom would leave the main front door open with only the screen door separating them from the outside world. They would fall asleep to the rhythmic croaking of the frogs and to the smell of fresh-cut alfalfa.

Older brother, Brent, and Julie on the farm. She liked cowboy hats!

Most of Julie’s impressionable growing-up years were in Maricopa where the family moved to manage Pat’s sister’s cotton farm. From first grade to her sophomore year in high school, Julie grew up on the farm with her three brothers Brent, Patrick and Curt.

Growing up on a 1200-acre cotton, wheat and alfalfa farm with her three brothers left plenty of room for a wide variety of adventures including exploring, playing sports, riding motorcycles and swimming in the ditches or sumps. Oh, it also included summers working in the Pistachio orchard or chopping weeds in the cotton fields. They even found time to build forts and reenact the battles of imagined ancient history.

After graduating from Gilbert High School in 1980, Julie attended Arizona State University obtaining her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 1984. With degree in hand, she launched into her journalism and marketing career beginning with small advertising and marketing firms in Tempe in the first few years. One of her favorite weekend pastimes involved taking friends back out to the farm and driving them around to see where all her growing up adventures took place. She left the farm, but the alure of the farm never left her.

She eventually landed a staff writer position with the Institute of Supply Management’s magazine Inside Supply Management. Once named the magazine’s editor, she served in that position until 2000 when she was lured away by a magazine publisher to launch a new magazine, Supply & Demand Chain Executive. As editor-in-chief for the magazine through 2004, Julie spearheaded the creation, development and management of one of the more successful business-to-business magazines during the Internet’s early Dot Com era.

While in charge of Supply & Demand Chain Executive, Julie developed a supply and demand chain model with the help of the research and academic community that is still used today to help companies understand their supply and demand chain processes and the functional areas they must enable with today’s technology.

After magazine publishing, she had a brief stint as vice president of AberdeenAccess for Aberdeen, a Boston-based IT research firm spearheading an online membership-based research repository.

Julie Murphree

During her years in magazine publishing and also AberdeenAccess, she acquired first-hand experience in the art of diplomacy working extensively with diverse groups, divisions and outside stakeholders. To meet deadlines, manage a team off-site and ensure her managed publications received priority treatment she immersed herself in self-directed training on the subject. Additionally, her many years with the Institute of Supply Management reporting on negotiations and diplomacy helped formulate a strategy she’s successfully employed over her many years in publishing and marketing.

Today, Julie feels like she’s come full circle, returning to her rural roots thanks to Arizona Farm Bureau. As Marketing, PR and Agriculture Education Director for Arizona Farm Bureau, she brings more than 20 years experience in messaging and content and marketing development and management working with traditional and new media to tell Arizona agriculture’s story. That story began with Fresh Air; her book published in 2006, but continues through her efforts with Arizona Farm Bureau.

One of the more critical tools Julie’s developed while at Arizona Farm Bureau to tell Arizona’s agriculture story is Fill Your Plate, an online directory of direct market farmers and ranchers. Viewers to the site can source for Arizona Farmers and Ranchers that will directly sell product to the customer. Viewers can also source for recipes, check out the  ”Celebrity Q&A” page and much more. It’s a place for everyone to get to know Arizona farmers and ranchers. Of course, her concept for this tool came from all the years connecting with purchasing and supply management professionals, experts at sourcing for products and services.

Julie’s blog now also features a section called “Fresh Fashion!” This is her way to celebrate cotton and natural fibers in general since she’s an Arizona cotton kid. One of her first articles on this topic, “33 Tips that Help You Mix it Up When Mixing and Matching Your Wardrobe,” reveals some of Julie’s favorite things to do with fashion and building a solid wardrobe around your lifestyle.

For Julie, working and advocating for agriculture is simply a breath of fresh Air and the logical place to celebrate her roots!

Special Note: While a majority of blog posts will come from Julie, she often features guest bloggers and often gives updated news blurbs related to agriculture.