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December 12, 2023
The 50th Missouri Governor’s Conference on Agriculture celebrated leaders for their commitment and service to the state’s largest industry.
“These individuals and businesses play a significant role in the success of our state’s agriculture industry,” Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn said in a news release. “It is my privilege to recognize their accomplishments. Their leadership and dedication do not go unnoticed.”
Farmers, ranchers and agriculture leaders nominated individuals for the Missouri Agriculture Awards. This year’s recipients include:
Missouri Food Animal Veterinarian: Dr. Adam Acklin, Acklin Veterinary Services. Acklin has served northwest Missouri farmers and ranchers for the past 13 years, and he now owns Acklin Veterinary Services in Barnard. He was also among the first group of recipients for MDA’s Large Animal Veterinary Student Loan Program.
Missouri Agriculture Education Leader: Dr. John Tummons, University of Missouri. Tummons is an associate professor and the director of undergraduate studies in Agricultural Education and Leadership at MU.
Missouri Agriculture Industry Lifetime Achievement Award: Don Nikodim, Missouri Pork Association. After 40 years at the helm of the state’s pork association, Nikodim is retiring at the end of this year. He has been a supporter of not only the hog industry, but also all agriculture sectors in the state.
Missouri International Exporter: Deerland Probiotics & Enzymes, ADM. Part of the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s domestic and international marketing role is to help companies such as Deerland, based in Forsyth, process the documentation to export Deerland’s human health supplements.
Fifth-generation pork producer Scott Hays is the next executive director of the Missouri Pork Association.
Hays is currently president of the National Pork Producers Council board of directors and will join the Missouri Pork team April 1.
Read more: Hays to lead NPPC as 2023-24 president
He is stepping into the new role after the retirement of Don Nikodim, who led the association for four decades.
“I am excited about the opportunity to advocate for an industry that I’ve been passionate about since childhood,” Hays said in a news release. “I look forward to helping producers navigate the challenges they face running their business, while representing the pork industry in Jefferson City, continuing our relationship with the University of Missouri and promoting our fabulous products.”
Hays is part of a family farming operation in Monroe City. He and his wife, Riss, their six children and 12 grandchildren enjoy the farm life the pork industry has provided them.
“Scott's experience in many different leadership positions throughout his career and his passion for the pork industry make him an excellent fit as our next executive director,” said Adam Dohrman, chairman of the MPA board of directors. “We're excited to have him join and lead the team at Missouri Pork.”
Editor, Missouri Ruralist
Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.
After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.
There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.
“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”
Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.
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