Director of Agriculture
Richard Fordyce, a fourth-generation Missouri farmer from Bethany, MO, was named Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture in December 2013 by Governor Jay Nixon. Fordyce has held leadership roles in agriculture on the local, state and national levels for more than 20 years and has worked his entire life to move the agriculture industry to new heights.
As Missouri's Director of Agriculture, Fordyce has set forth priorities to advance youth in agriculture, international trade, farm safety, consumer awareness and environmental stewardship.
In 2015, Fordyce established the Missouri Agricultural Stewardship Assurance Program (ASAP), a verification program championing farmers who are responsible stewards of the land, and created the Missouri Agricultural Foundation to support projects that promote sound agricultural growth and opportunities. He has led agriculture awareness campaigns including the My Farm, My Story video series introducing consumers to some of the state’s finest farmers and FarmScape, an urban initiative that brings the farm and rural lifestyle to large cities and urban neighborhoods. Fordyce has been featured on numerous local, state and national news broadcasts and shows including The Food Channel’s Four Bean Pod: The Connected Farmer.
Director Fordyce currently serves as the chairman of the International Trade & Policy Committee for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), which represents the departments of agriculture in all 50 states. He is a member of the Missouri Agricultural Foundation Board, Missouri State Fair Commission, Missouri Wine & Grape Board, Missouri Development Finance Board and Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority Board of Directors. He was also appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to serve as one of the Missouri directors on the United Soybean Board.
Fordyce chaired the state’s Soil & Water Commission for more than 5 years, earning him the 2012 Soil Conservationist of the Year. Other leadership roles include president of Harrison County Farm Bureau for more than 15 years and chair of the Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee for the Missouri Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau. Fordyce has served in roles for the Northwest Missouri State Fair, National Biodiesel Board and the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council.
In 2015, Fordyce was awarded the Missouri Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award and the Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) Alumni of the Year. He was also awarded the 2015 Missouri Corn President’s Award.
Fordyce and his wife, Renee, grow soybeans and corn as well as raise beef cattle on the family farm in Harrison County. Their daughter, Emma, just graduated high school and is headed to the University of Missouri in the fall. Their son, Ethan, is an Agricultural Systems Management Major at the University of Missouri.