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New Missouri Agriculture Stewardship Award will recognize best practices in farmland management

Applications are now being accepted for the Missouri Agriculture Stewardship Award, which will honor the “best of the best” in careful and responsible management of land, natural resources and animals entrusted to the care of Missouri farmers and ranchers.

This new award, presented by Missouri Farmers Care (MFC) and its member organizations, will be given annually to one farm or ranch family who demonstrates innovation, stewardship and diligence in land management decisions. Recipients will receive a $5,000 honorarium and will be invited to speak at conferences and host an on-farm tour that highlights their successful conservation and stewardship practices.

“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, MFC chairman. “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.”

With this award, Missouri agriculture continues the tradition of highlighting stewardship efforts of the state’s farmers. MFC and partners collaborated to present the Missouri Leopold Conservation Award from 2017 to 2023, and this new recognition program will build on that legacy by highlighting the best of Missouri agricultural production practices.

Ashley McCarty, MFC executive director, says a rigorous process will be used to choose the winner, with an external committee considering such criteria as voluntary stewardship practices, collaboration with conservation partners, innovation, leadership, outreach and education.

“Past recipients of the Leopold Award are shining examples of the sort of leadership and focus on land management that we want to promote,” McCarty said. “The Missouri Agricultural Stewardship Award provides a greater opportunity for us to tell those stories and figuratively open the farm gate to let people know about the science, technology and innovation that’s happening on Missouri farms and ranches.”

Deadline for applications to be submitted or postmarked is June 30, 2024. The winner will be announced at an agricultural or natural resources conference this winter.

For more information or to submit an online application, visit MoFarmersCare.com/agstewardshipaward. Applications can also be mailed to Missouri Farmers Care Foundation, 19171 State Highway 11, Kirksville, MO 63501.

Read more articles from the June/July issue HERE.

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Field day will focus on 4Rs

Producers invited to free event July 24 in Trenton, Mo

Producers who want to learn more about improving nutrient management, soil health, crop yields and water quality are invited to MFA’s 4R Field Day on Wednesday, July 24, from 5 to 8 p.m. at North Central Missouri College Barton Farm Campus in Trenton, Mo.

The evening’s agenda will feature farmers sharing their successes, struggles, equipment modifications and use of conservation practices to improve soil health and reduce nutrient runoff in their fields. Representatives from MFA, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency and Missouri Department of Conservation will be on hand to discuss conservation practices and provide assistance with programs available to the state’s producers.

MFA Conservation Specialist Emily Beck, who is coordinat­ing the event, said the field day will promote the 4R Prin­ciples of Nutrient Stewardship—Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time, and Right Place—which provide a framework to achieve cropping system goals such as increased production, better productivity, enhanced environmental protection and improved sustainability.

The event is free and dinner will be provided. For more information, contact Beck at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit with your local MFA representative.

Read more of the June/July 2024 Today's Farmer Magazine HERE.

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Traps help track plant pests

Summer is a popular time for insects to make their presence known in a negative way. One such pest is the spongy moth, which feeds on more than 300 species of shrubs and trees—oak trees, in particular. To help combat the spongy moth and other plant pests, the Missouri Department of

Agriculture Plant Industries team set traps last month and will continue to monitor them throughout the summer.

“Plant pests can hitchhike to new locations through a number of avenues,” said State Entomologist Rosalee Knipp. “They can burrow in untreated firewood and attach themselves to outdoor surfaces. Our team works hard to ensure Missouri’s plant industry remains protected throughout the year, and no invasive species make their way into our state.”

The spongy moth arrived in the U.S. in 1869 and has primarily affected the East Coast. Surveying helps MDA monitor for spongy moths and allow its team to pinpoint locations if the insects were to enter Missouri. The Show-Me State has approximately 12.5 million acres of oak that could be severely damaged or killed if infested with spongy moths, which would greatly impact the state’s forestry economy.

Temporary traps are set in May each year. The traps are checked by MDA staff throughout the summer and are removed in August. Spongy moth traps are orange and triangular, and each trap includes a pheromone lure that attracts male spongy moths. The pheromone travels a short distance, only attracting moths near the trap. Traps are tied around the trunks of oak trees across the state, from the southwest corner to the northwest corner of Missouri. Nearly 3,200 traps are set out each summer, both in urban and rural settings.

MDA also watches closely for the spotted lanternfly, a leafhopper native to Asia. The spotted lanternfly feeds on the sap of over 70 plant species, including grape, apple, hops, oak, walnut, maple and ornamental plants. Tree of heaven, an invasive plant in Missouri, is a favored host.

Spotted lanternflies, like spongy moths, are hitchhikers in their egg mass stage. Look for spotted lanternfly and spongy moth egg masses on vehicles, trees and other outdoor surfaces.

MDA entomologists say Missourians can help stop the spread of these pests in several ways:
• If you happen to see a spongy moth or spotted lanternfly egg mass when it is dormant during late fall, winter or early spring, scrape or smash the mass and report the sighting to MDA.
• Don’t move untreated firewood to new places. Source firewood where it will be burned or buy certified, heat-treated firewood before traveling.
• Source plants and seeds responsibly.

If you suspect an invasive species, contact MDA’s Plant Pest Program at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Find details about other invasive species that could cause harm to Missouri plants at agriculture.mo.gov.

Read more of the June/July 2024 Today's Farmer Magazine HERE.

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