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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 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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