Missouri Ag Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award

David Baker of Columbia

Baker has served Missouri agriculture for 40 years as a distinguished leader and has won numerous awards, including the Award for Superior Service by the USDA Secretary of Agriculture. He retired as assistant dean and program director for Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension at the University of Missouri in September 2015.

Agriculture Education Leader Award

Jennifer Hawkins of Jefferson City

Hawkins promotes real-world experiences through community-based Supervised Agricultural Experience Programs at R-II High School in Russellville, where she works as an agriculture educator.

Agricultural Environmental Steward Award

Peter Rost of New Madrid

A conservation-minded farmer, Rost has engaged voluntary cost-share programs like NRCS’s EQIP, MRBI and RCPP programs, and transitioned his traditional bootheel farming operation to a no-till system with an aggressive use of cover crops.

Ag Communicator Award

Kyle Hill of Moberly

Hill has worked as a news programmer for KRES Radio since June 2013 and as farm director since April 2014. Despite growing up in the suburbs of Kansas City, Kyle’s roots run deep through Northeast Missouri, with membership in the Missouri Century Farm Club for farmland in Macon County.

Farm Innovation Award

David and Sharon Stephens of Malta Bend

The couple has always looked to future technology to efficiently run their farrow-to-wean hog operation. They are early adopters of many innovative practices, and are constantly collecting and analyzing data, researching new methods and perfecting their efficiency.

Food Animal Veterinarian Award

Dr. Harold Haskins of Diamond

Doc Haskins has made himself available to thousands of producers in the surrounding four states for more than 45 years. He was instrumental in the eradication of Brucellosis in the 1970s and 80s, and has always been proactive in the improvement of cattle health in the industry.

International Exporter of the Year Award

Diamond Pet Foods of Meta

The company started in 1970 from the vision of founders and brothers-in-law Gary Schell and Richard Kampeter, who believed premium pet food could be produced at an affordable price. Today, Diamond Pet Foods is the fifth-largest pet food company in the world.

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Agriculture Volunteer Award

Sherry Jones of Dawn

Jones has demonstrated grassroots leadership, changed the playing field for all women in agriculture and built a reputation of getting the job done through legislation, outreach and mentorship. She was the first woman elected to both the Missouri Farm Bureau Board of Directors and the Farm Credit Services Board.

Agriculture Cattle Legacy Award

Nick Hammett of Ashland

As Circle A’s Marketing Manager, Hammett is responsible for the sales of 400 bulls and
1,000 commercial females annually. He oversees the marketing campaign, provides customer service and procures customer calves for Circle A Feeders. He was raised in central Missouri, where his family operated a row crop and cow/calf operation.

Agriculture Corn Legacy Award

Kevin Hurst of Tarkio

A multi-generation corn and soybean farmer, Hurst began farming with his family in 1976. He is a member of the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council board of directors and served as the Missouri Corn Growers Association president. Hurst represents corn farmers nationally as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Political Action Committee and served on the U.S. Grains Council Middle East/Africa Advisory Team.

Agriculture Cotton Legacy Award

Charles Parker of Senath

This co-owner of the Farmers Union Cotton Gin has played an important role in boll weevil eradication not only in Missouri, but also throughout the southern U.S. He chairs the Missouri Cotton Growers’ Organization board and is a board member of the Southeastern Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation Inc.

Agriculture Dairy Legacy Award

Larry Purdom of Purdy

Purdom, along with his wife and daughter, has milked 140 cows but now grows corn silage and hay, and raises a small herd of beef cows on 700 acres. He serves on the county Farm Bureau board, is chairman of the congressional agriculture advisory committee and previously served on the National Dairy Board. He was inducted into the Missouri Cooperative Hall of Fame in 2010 and has been honored with the FFA American Farmer Degree and as an Honorary Star Farmer.

Agriculture Forestry Legacy Award

Kurt Rehagen of Perryville

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A second-generation sawmill owner, Rehagen capitalized on his father’s legacy and grew his business through innovative domestic and international marketing. He invested his own time and resources to travel to Mexico and Vietnam to investigate new markets for his grade lumber business, Rustic Wood Products Inc. He is a one of only 14 Missouri Master Loggers.

Agriculture Pork Legacy Award

Everett Forkner of Richards

Forkner, owner of Forkner Farms Inc., farms 2,000 acres of crops and manages a 500 head purebred sow operation. Over the decades, Forkner Farms has been able to keep up with the ever-changing industry. Forkner is a longtime member of the Missouri Pork Association and served as chair of the Missouri Pork Expo.

Agriculture Poultry Legacy Award

Jason Witt of California

Witt has worked for Cargill Turkey and Cooked Meats for almost 20 years, and has been at the California complex for 12 years, where he serves as general manager. He also serves as the California Area Chamber of Commerce president.

Agriculture Rice Legacy Award

Sonny Martin of Bernie (awarded posthumously)

The late Sonny Martin of Martin Rice Company farmed rice, corn, soybeans, wheat and even broccoli. He was a charter member of the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council and chairman of the USA Rice Council from 1994 to 1996. He was also a founding member of the U.S. Rice Producers Association, on which he served as chairman and was on the board of the directors. Born in Peach Orchard, Mo., Martin dedicated his life to farming the Missouri bootheel.

Agriculture Soybean Legacy Award

Warren Stemme of Chesterfield

Stemme is a visionary leader that helped take Missouri’s biodiesel industry to the next level. It is because of his leadership that the Missouri Qualified Biodiesel Producer Incentive Fund exists today. That legislation led to the creation of the Mid- America Biofuels biodiesel plant, of which Stemme is chairman. Today, Mid-America Biofuels is one of Missouri’s largest biodiesel plants, and has proven to be a huge economic benefit to the Mexico area.


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