The Governor’s Award for Agricultural Achievement was given to four producers Wednesday who, together, represent a cross section of the state’s farm sector. The final stop of the day was Thiel Farms near Malta Bend where Governor Jay Nixon gave the coveted prize to Billy Thiel and Thiel Farms. According to Nixon, the family farm was selected based on their dedication to community and willingness to grow. Thiel says he appreciates the recognition and hopes the award will continue to shine light on advancements made in farming.
Awards were also presented to M&M Dairy in Rogersville, the Oak Knoll Ranch in Salem and Heritage Valley Tree Farm in Washington.
Click the link to listen to the full press conference:
The Department of Agriculture issued the following press release:
MARSHALL, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon today visited Marshall to recognize Thiel Farms, one of Missouri’s top corn-growers, with the Governor’s Award for Agricultural Achievement, which honors outstanding farmers, growers and processors in a variety of agriculture commodities.
Billy Thiel, along with his parents, Don & Barbara Thiel; his brother, Donnie Thiel; and his cousin, Bryan Thiel; is a third-generation family farmer who supports his local community and is involved in livestock, conservation and civic organizations. Billy just completed his service as chairman of the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and now serves as President of the Missouri Corn Growers Association. He is also involved with the Saline County Cattlemen’s Association, Quail Unlimited and the local Optimist Club. This year he was featured in the Corn Farmer Coalition national campaign highlighting the importance of corn production.
Last year, Billy was part of an effort that harvested over 3,300 pounds of sweet corn that was donated to Harvesters – The Community Food Network of Kansas City to help provide nearly 2,600 meals for hungry families.
“Agriculture has always been, and will always be at the heart of Missouri’s economy, thanks to operations like Billy Thiel’s farm,” Gov. Nixon said. “Missouri farmers feed a hungry world, and they help strengthen America’s energy independence. Farmers also create jobs and support our economy. The farmers, ranchers and producers of Missouri are moving our state forward through innovation and conservation, breaking new ground and creating new opportunities for our future.”
During his visit today, Gov. Nixon and Director of Agriculture Jon Hagler toured part of Thiel Farms, in Saline County, and presented Thiel with a certificate recognizing their hard work and accomplishments.
“Missouri farmers, like the Thiel family, are among the most productive, most innovative, most environmentally friendly producers in the world, and we are proud to recognize their outstanding contributions to our state,” said Dr. Hagler. “Under Gov. Nixon’s leadership, Missouri’s farm families and our state’s agriculture industry will continue to thrive and be a leader throughout the U.S.”
In 2010, Missouri farmers harvested more than three million acres of corn, approximately 370 million bushels, which is a cash value of more than $2 billion. Missouri ranks ninth in the nation for corn production.
The majority of corn grown in Missouri is exported to other states and countries. About 20 percent of the corn produced in Missouri stays in the state and is used for ethanol production at six farmer-owned ethanol cooperatives. Much of the remaining corn is used as feed for the animal-agriculture industry.
“We produce more corn per acre of land than any other country in the world, and we get better every year,” Billy Thiel said. “We take advantage of our production knowledge and available technology to get the job done the right way, which means taking better care of the environment and using fewer crop inputs per bushel than just a decade ago. It’s a tremendous success story.”
Gov. Nixon recognized three other agriculture leaders with awards today. He presented the Governor’s Award for Agricultural Achievement in cattle to the Oak Knoll Ranch in Salem; the Governor’s Award for Agricultural Achievement in tree farming to Heritage Valley Tree Farm in Washington; and the Governor’s Award for Agricultural Achievement in dairy to M&M Dairy LLC in Rogersville.