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From the forested hills and large lakes in the Ozark Plateau to the rice fields in the Bootheel, Missouri is home to nearly 100,000 farms on more than 28 million acres of farmland. With agriculture’s economic contribution of Missouri at $88.4 billion, it is the number one industry in the state. Below are some of the stories of the businesses and producers that make this industry as unique as its diverse landscape.

McKaskle Family Farm

By Leslie Fischer

March 7, 2019

Steve McKaskle is a man of stories.

Stories with intrigue, characters and drama. Stories that are wrapped in a drawl that is distinctly southern and carried on a cadence that is distinctly gentile. The kind of stories that pull you in, take you on a ride, and drop you off at a life lesson that sticks with you long after the book has been closed.

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Connecting People, Delivering Good(s)

An Interview with Dave Shogren

By Leslie Fischer

Nov. 29, 2018

Calm. Quiet. Understated. The kind of person that takes a pause before responding to a question and delivers thoughtful answers reflective of his demeanor. As CEO of US International Foods, a high-end global food and grocery export company, his character surfaces in humble disparity from his title. Naturally swapping boastful pride for considerate introspection, he is not the profile of a typical executive. Taking time out of his day to share his expertise for this interview with the Missouri Department of Agriculture was nothing new for him; in fact, he sees mentorship as one of his primary roles.

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Freddie Lee’s Gourmet Sauces

By Leslie Fischer

Nov. 16, 2018

Adulthood came fast for Freddie Lee.

At age 16, living in the ghetto of inner-city St. Louis, Freddie learned he was going to be a father. While most kids his age were learning to drive, tasting the freedoms of what it is to be an American teen, Freddie was looking down the barrel of parenthood in one of the roughest neighborhoods in the state.

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Nutra Blend Gives Back

By Leslie Fischer

Sep. 10, 2018

September.

A month rife with transition, as kids and parents alike are switching gears–trading pool bags for backpacks, morning cartoons for morning announcements, and homeruns for homeroom. For many families, this shift in mindset–from the splendors of solstice, to the rigors of routine–is a difficult one, as schedules and extracurriculars suppress the spontaneity of the season. For other students and families, however, this change is long-awaited, as the start of school means the return of something else—regular meals.

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Beckmeyer Farms

By Leslie Fischer

June 21, 2018

Rolling hills, vineyards, a farm house that sits amongst vines, views that last for miles. There are few scenes more idyllic than those abundant at Beckmeyer Farms, nestled on the southern border of Boone County, in the heart of central Missouri. Once used for traditional row crop, the dynamic plot has changed roles over the years, beginning with the production of grapes for Missouri’s wine industry in the late nineties. Under the stewardship of owner Orion Beckmeyer, life-long farmer, producer, volunteer and home vintner, the land has produced far more than the inputs initially planted. As someone who understands the gifts inherent in the American farmer,the bounties of his land and a yearning to do more, Beckmeyer has made it his life’s mission to give back on a global scale.

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