October 25, 2011

Department of Ag Recognizes McBees of Fayette in the 10,000 Garden Challenge

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has once again awarded a Missouri gardener with a $500 gift card for their participation in the 10,000 Garden Challenge. Ron and Teri McBee of Fayette, Mo. have been selected to receive the seventh $500 Tractor Supply Company gift card through their participation in the effort to get 10,000 gardens growing throughout the state.

"The 10,000 Garden Challenge is doing an outstanding job of highlighting the efforts of Missourians to provide fresh, nutritious food for themselves and their neighbors," said Gov. Jay Nixon. "The First Lady and I continue to see the momentum build with more gardeners getting on board to grow local produce, give a boost to the economy and support Missouri agriculture."

Teri currently grows three gardens totaling over 1,000 square feet of flowers and vegetables. She grows "lots of everything" and says, "what we don't eat or put away for ourselves goes to our six children and nine grandchildren."

Teri has been gardening her entire life, including growing up on a truck farm in Lafayette County. One of her favorite things to do is wrap all of her green tomatoes in newspaper and store them in a cool dark space at the end of the season so that she always has ripe tomatoes to share with her entire family at Christmas.

Ron and Teri are AgriMissouri members and the owners of McBee Cattle Company. Their company specializes in breeding Braunvieh Angus Hybrids that they market as "McBeef Builder Hybrids". They also process and sell their own grass-fed beef. Ron is the president of the Braunvieh Cattleman's Association and plants numerous Missouri native plants as part of his rotational grazing program. Their farm has 1600 acres in conservation management through the USDA/NRCS EQIP Program and is a model of land stewardship.

"The 10,000 Garden Challenge encourages Missourians to get their hands in the dirt and to connect with agriculture, local foods, the outdoors and healthy eating," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "The McBee's are a great example of Missouri's agricultural spirit."

The 10,000 Garden Challenge kicked off this spring with an announcement by Gov. Jay Nixon, First Lady Georganne Nixon and Dr. Jon Hagler encouraging Missourians to connect to agriculture by growing fresh produce, native plants and ornamental flowers in their backyards and communities. Since that time, over 7,000 Missouri gardeners have registered their plots in the 10,000 Garden Challenge. After every 1,000th garden is registered, a drawing is held for a $500 gift certificate from Tractor Supply Company.

Missourians can register their gardens as individuals or as groups at http://AgriMissouri.com. The 10,000 Garden Challenge website offers helpful gardening resources, including tips on vegetable planting, calendars and health and nutrition facts.

To learn more about the 10,000 Garden Challenge, visit http://AgriMissouri.com. For more information on the Missouri Department of Agriculture, visit http://mda.mo.gov.

Note: A videoclip highlighting the McBees and their farm is available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu6EC8zTbXM.