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Missouri Farmers Care, a coalition of Missouri agricultural organizations and agribusinesses, is now accepting applications for the Missouri Agriculture Stewardship Award. The newly developed award recognizes the high bar set in Missouri agriculture for the careful and responsible management of land, natural resources, and animals entrusted to the care of Missouri farmers and ranchers. The Missouri Farmers Care Missouri Agriculture Stewardship Award is presented in partnership with Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, and organizations across Missouri agriculture.

“Missouri farmers understand their important role in ensuring natural resources are managed so that they are left in better condition for generations that follow in their footsteps,” said Jeff Houts, chairman of Missouri Farmers Care. “This prestigious award recognizes the best of the best in production stewardship and, in doing so, hopefully inspires adoption of innovative management across Missouri agriculture.”

Private landowners manage 93 percent of Missouri land, with 27 million acres managed as farms and ranches. Missouri Farmers Care seeks award applicants who demonstrate the best innovation, stewardship, and diligence in land management decisions on their active, working farms and ranches.

"In the heart of Missouri's farmlands, today's soybean farmers stand as stewards of tomorrow's legacy,” said Aaron Porter, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council Chair. “Through dedication and innovation, we nurture the land for future generations. The Missouri Agriculture Stewardship Award honors our commitment, paving the way for sustainable agriculture and ensuring a prosperous future."

With this award, Missouri agriculture continues the tradition of highlighting stewardship efforts of Missouri farmers. Missouri Farmers Care and partners collaborated to present deserving farm families the Missouri Leopold Conservation Award from 2017 to 2023. The Missouri Agriculture Stewardship Award will continue the tradition.

"Missouri Corn is proud to be part of a program like the Missouri Agriculture Stewardship Award, which recognizes, celebrates, and promotes the people implementing different conservation practices on their farm,” says Missouri Corn Merchandising Council Chairman Matt Lambert, a corn grower from Laclede, Mo. “We hope the recipient of this year’s award will inspire others and highlight the strides today’s farmers are making in protecting and enhancing today’s natural resources.”

The 2025 Missouri Agricultural Stewardship Award will be presented to one farm or ranch family at agricultural and natural resource conferences this winter. Recipients will be extended invitations throughout the year to speak on panels and present at conferences to share their experiences with fellow producers and host an on-farm tour that highlights their successful conservation and stewardship practices. Award recipients will receive a $5,000 honorarium.

“Missouri farmers and ranchers have a deep commitment to conservation and stewardship of their private lands,” said USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist Scott Edwards. “The Missouri Agriculture Stewardship Award is a great way to recognize and highlight the conservation work of deserving producers across the state and it allows the award winner to share their story, inspiring other producers to practice sound conservation.”

The Missouri Farmers Care Foundation Missouri Agriculture Stewardship Award is made possible thanks to the generous support of Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, MFA, Inc., Missouri Fertilizer Control Board, FCS Financial, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Missouri Soil and Water Conservation Program, Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and The Nature Conservancy in Missouri.

Additional information is available at Active Missouri farmers and ranchers can submit applications online (preferred) or mailed to Missouri Farmers Care Foundation, 19171 State Highway 11, Kirksville, MO 63501. All applications must be submitted or postmarked by June 15, 2024.

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