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.
Master of Ceremonies
Cyndi is responsible for the Brownfield Ag News product. Raised on a family farm in west central Illinois, she studied agriculture education and animal science at Western Illinois University and took her first job at a local radio station shortly after graduation.
Cyndi joined Brownfield as Regional Farm Director in 1998, and was soon promoted to Farm and Ag Operations Director where she manages the largest team of farm broadcasters in the country.
Cyndi has traveled extensively throughout the United States and to 16 different countries covering agriculture for Midwestern farmers. Her work has earned her dozens of honors from agriculture groups and associations. A member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting for 27 years, Cyndi was recognized as Farm Broadcaster of the Year for the nation in 1997, and received the coveted Oscar in Agriculture in 2009.
Cyndi and her husband Jim Puyear raise beef cattle on their farm in Moniteau County.
Master of Ceremonies
Tom Brand, executive director of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting, is a native of Nodaway County, Missouri that has worked his entire life surrounded by agriculture. He grew up on a diversified family livestock and grain operation.
In 1993, Brand began his farm broadcasting career at Brownfield Network and served as the assistant farm director for KMA Radio in Shenandoah, Iowa before joining KFEQ in St. Joseph. As Farm Director at KFEQ, Brand was responsible for more than ten live hours of broadcasts each week.
Brand served as the 2003 President of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB), and traveled frequently throughout the year, reporting news to his listeners, throughout the U.S. including Washington, DC, and internationally.
In 2003, Tom and his wife Beth became involved with a group of farmers and agribusiness people, helping to organize the Show-Me Tractor Cruise, a benefit ride for the children. The Tractor Cruise continues to grow and has raised more than $350,000 to help children.
Brand graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Agriculture Communications.
Elected in November 2016, Lieutenant Governor-elect Michael L. Parson will be sworn in as Lt. Gov. on Jan. 9, 2017.
Parson, a Republican, was elected in 2010 to serve the 28th District in the Missouri Senate. The 28th District includes Benton, Cedar, Dallas, Polk, Hickory, Laclede, Pettis and St. Clair counties. Before being elected to the House of Representatives in 2004, Sen. Parson served as the Polk County Sheriff. He also served six years in the U.S. Army.
Sen. Parson was raised on a farm in Hickory County, and graduated from Wheatland High School in Wheatland, Mo. He is a small business owner and is a third generation farmer who currently owns and operates a cow/calf operation near Bolivar.
Sen. Parson chairs the Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee and during his first two years in the Senate served as Majority Whip. While serving in the House of Representatives, he was chair of the House Rules Committee.
Senator Parson currently serves on the following legislative committees and organizations:
• Chairman of Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee
• Agriculture, Food Production & Outdoor Resources
• Joint Committee on Legislative Research
• Health Facilities Review Committee
In addition to his legislative duties, Senator Parson is a member of the following organizations:
• American Legion
• Bolivar Chamber of Commerce
• Lebanon Chamber of Commerce
• Missouri Farm Bureau
• Missouri Cattlemen’s Association
• Missouri Sheriffs Association
• Missouri State Employee’s Retirement Board – past member
• National Rifle Association – lifetime member
• Optimist Club
• Sedalia Chamber of Commerce
• Honorary Lebanon Rotary Member
• Protect the Harvest
• Missouri Farmers Care
• Missouri State Fair Foundation
• American Legislative Exchange Council
Sen. Parson is a past board member of the Bolivar Chamber of Commerce, and a Commissioner of the Missouri Emergency Response Commission. He also started the D.A.R.E. Scholarship Program for each school in Polk County. Recently, he was awarded an A grade for his legislative accomplishments by Missouri Scout.
He recently received awards from the following associations:
• Friend of Corn Growers Award
• Missouri Community College Association Award
• Advocate for Agribusiness Award
• SAOVA – The Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance
• St. Louis Business Journal for promoting small business in the state.
• Missouri Health Care Association for working with seniors and assisted living facilities.
• Missouri Children’s Coalition for protecting the rights of children in Missouri.
• Statesman of the Year Award from RCGA - 2012
• Missouri Pork Association Outstanding Legislator Award
• Missouri Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Enterprise Award
• Mid-Missouri Responsible Breeders Award
• Missouri Association of Counties for Budget Procedure
• Mizzou Alumni Association Geyer Award
• Missouri Dental Association
• The State Historical Society of Missouri 2015 Trustee Appreciation Award
• Missouri State University’s Government Excellence Award
Sen. Parson currently lives in Bolivar with his wife, Teresa, where they are members of First Baptist Church. They have two children, a daughter, Stephanie, and husband, Jonathan; and son, Kelly, and his wife, Tara. Sen. Parson also has 5 grandchildren, David, Alicia, Michaela, Benjamin and Isabella House.
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Brownfield Ag News
John Perkins has been with Brownfield Ag News since October 2002, reporting on the commodity markets, statistical reports, and the broader market. He also edits Brownfield’s daily email newsletter, Agriculture Today, and makes sure the newsroom has printer supplies and plenty of paper.
A native of Des Moines, Iowa, John is the second generation off of the family farm and a second generation agricultural journalist. John came to Brownfield after attending Iowa State University, while spending several years with Iowa State University Extension Market News, working in ag radio since shortly after graduating from high school in 1996. In his spare time, John likes to cook a lot of different kinds of foods, read a wide variety of books, listen to several types of music, or just spend some time letting other people get a word in edgewise for once.
Missouri Dairy Industry Alliance
Chris Heins is a sixth-generation farmer from central Missouri. He works with his parents, Paul and Cindy Heins, and helps oversees the family’s 650-Holstein cow dairy.
As herd manager, Chris specializes in herd health, cow comfort, and milk production. He also helps supervise the farm’s row crops, employee management and development, and calf and heifer raising. Chris serves on the Missouri-Kansas regional board for Midwest Dairy Association (the regional dairy checkoff organization) and, both through tours and littlehousedairy.com, enjoys advocating for the dairy industry with his wife Adriane. Chris and Adriane have a daughter, Georgia, and are expecting their second child in March.
Missouri Cattlemen's Association
Keith Stevens is the current president of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association. He is a Polk County cattleman and a native of Buffalo in neighboring Dallas County. Stevens is the second Polk County cattlemen to hold the state office since the organization’s conception in 1911.
He is also a member of the Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District board of supervisors; serves on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Board of Directors; serves on the Bolivar Area Chamber of Commerce Board; member of Missouri Farm Bureau; and member of the Missouri Limestone Producers Association. MCA is the oldest and largest association focused solely on Missouri’s vibrant beef cattle industry.
Missouri Pork Association
Scott Phillips is the chairman of the Missouri Pork Association from Drexel. Following graduation from the University of Missouri with a bachelor's and master's degree in agricultural economics, Scott entered the U.S. Air Force Reserves training program in 1988 and served the country as an A-10 fighter pilot.
He returned to his parent's farm after military training and continued pilot duty until 1997. During this time, he led the farm in reorganizing in 1993 to discontinue crop production and double their swine capacity.
He is now co-owner of Prairie View Pork, LLC, with his brother Martin. They raise more than 2,000 sows on a farrow-to-finish operation, marketing 50,000 head annually. Scott is responsible for the sow herd and farm business management.
Scott and his wife Dawnita have three children: Jessica, Elisha and Katherine.
Missouri Soybean Association
Ronnie Russell raises soybeans, corn, wheat and alfalfa in Ray County. He also has a cow/calf operation and a retail commercial fertilizer business. In addition to his responsibilities on the farm, Russell serves as the vice-president of the Missouri Soybean Association and represents district one on the Association's board of directors.
Russell is a strong advocate on agriculture policy and has been especially active on biodiesel, transportation and regulatory issues affect soybean farmers' bottom line.
Russell received his bachelor of science degree in agriculture education from the University of Central Missouri. He and his wife, Robin, reside in Richmond and have five daughters and one grandson.
Missouri Corn Growers Association
Gary Porter is a third generation farmer in Mercer County, Missouri. His family farming operation includes corn, soybeans, sorghum and Angus cattle. Gary is currently president of the Missouri Corn Growers Association. He has previously served as chairman, secretary and treasurer of the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council as well as vice president of the Missouri Corn Growers Association.
Gary is president of Porter Farms, president of the local Public Water Supply District and a seven-time National Corn Growers Association National Corn Yield Contest winner. In addition to local, state and national service, Gary represents corn farmers on an international level as chairman of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Western Hemisphere Advisory Team.
He and his wife Lori are parents to three sons: Gage, Galt and Grey. They are active members in the First Assembly of God Church in Trenton, Mo. His personal philosophy includes working to uphold the family tradition of farming and conserving the land to ensure his sons have a future in agriculture.
Missouri Forest Products Association
Carl is president and owner of Reed Lumber Co. located west of Potosi, Mo. Reed Lumber Co. sawmills hardwood logs and manufactures wooden pallets. The company operates two sawmills-- a grade mill and a scragg mill.
Carl bought Reed Lumber Co. in 1993. He has been active in the Missouri Forest Products Association and served as president from 2003-2005. He also has been active with the Missouri Wood Industry Insurance Trust and the Mark Twain Timber Purchasers Group.
Previously he spent 21 years as a partner with Price Waterhouse and three years in the
governor's office in Illinois. While with Price Waterhouse he worked with several clients in the agribusiness sector. He received Bachelor's and Master's degrees in economics from their University of Illinois. Carl is married and the father of two spectacular young adults, ages 17 and 23.
Former Director of Agriculture
James B. Boillot served as the Director of Agriculture during the administration of Governor Christopher S. Bond. He served two terms from 1973-1977 and from 1981-1985. Following his service in Missouri, Boillot served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the United States Department of Agriculture. Following his government involvement Jim served as Chief Executive Officer of two national agricultural associations.
Jim received his BS and Masters Degrees from the University of Missouri College of Agriculture. He operated farms in Boone and Callaway counties. He has received numerous recognitions for his contributions to the agricultural community.
Currently Jim and Phyllis, his wife of fifty seven years, live on a farm in Boone county and are the parents of a family consisting of three children, seven grandchildren and two great granddaughters.
Former Director of Agriculture
Tim Kelley has been farming for more than 45 years in Northwest Missouri. He served his community as a Missouri State Representative for nine years, as well as Missouri Director of Agriculture from 1991-1993.
Tim also served as CEO of Agricultural Leadership of Tomorrow (ALOT), president of the United Electric Coop Board and Pony Express Council.
He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in agriculture economics from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale in 1969. He and his wife Donna have two children, Tyler and Ashley. Tim retired from Missouri's Farm Service Agency to the family farm for grandpa duty in 2009.
Former DIrector of Agriculture
Lowell Mohler was born and raised on a farm near Oregon, Mo. and graduated from the University of Missouri in 1958 with a degree in meat technology. He was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity where he was a classmate of Jerry Litton.
Lowell's first job was with the National Livestock and Meat Board in Chicago before beginning a 26-year career as Chief Administrative Officer of the Missouri Farm Bureau. He was appointed Missouri Director of Agriculture in 2001 and served for two years. Lowell also served as a commissioner of the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Lowell currently farms near Jefferson City with wife JoAnn and remains active with Missouri State Fair Commission, the CAFNR Foundation and his eight grandkids.
Former Director of Agriculture
Don Steen has been farming with his family since 1949. He began raising his own turkeys and cattle in 1973 near Eldon, Missouri. Don has held various leadership roles impacting Missouri’s agriculture industry. Most recently, he’s worked as a Legislative Assistant for Missouri Farm Bureau. In 2008, Don was appointed Missouri Director of Agriculture by then-Governor Matt Blunt. Prior to that he served 8 years as a member of the Missouri House of Representatives, and 7 years as the Miller County Assessor.
Don’s civic involvement includes many years of service on his local school board and Ozark Christian College, where he currently serves as a Trustee. Don graduated with a degree in animal science from the University of Missouri in 1971. Most notably, Don enjoys spending time with his wife Alisa and their four children: Amy, Darrick, Scott and Katie. He has found his grandchildren are pretty great, too!
Dr. Parry Dixon
Archer Daniels Midland
Parry Dixon is an economist at ADM Corporate headquarters in Decatur, Ill. Parry joined ADM in 1984. As ADM's economist, he is responsible for economic analysis in addition to price forecasting for commodities.
Prior to joining ADM, Parry worked for a large brokerage firm in Chicago, Illinois. In total, he has over 40 years of experience in agricultural economics. Parry grew up on a small crop farm in Idaho with dairy and beef operations. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy from Brigham Young University. Parry went on to graduate with both a Master of Science degree and a doctorate degree in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dr. Scott Brown
University of Missouri
Scott is an assistant extension professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Missouri and the state extension agricultural economist for University of Missouri extension. Scott has worked with U.S. Congress over the past two decades in determining the quantitative effects of changes in dairy and livestock policies and has testified regarding dairy and livestock policy issues before House and Senate Agriculture committees. He also works with the Missouri Legislature on the economic effects of state policy options on Missouri agriculture.
Scott is investigating the economic effects of the adoption of new technologies in the cattle industry that can increase high-quality cattle supplies and is working on price risk management strategies for cattle producers. Scott received his PhD degree in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri and his BS degree in agricultural business from Northwest Missouri State University. Scott grew up on a diversified farm in Northwest Missouri.
Sterling Liddell is senior vice president for Rabo AgriFinance and Rabobank International in its Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) group.
In this role, he is responsible for analyzing the grain and oilseed sectors. In addition, he coordinates the research effort for Rabo AgriFinance in North America. Prior to joining Rabobank, Mr. Liddell was the senior research and development nalyst with Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. Areas of research at Farm Bureau included farm profitability, rural investment and development, and national farm policy. In addition to Farm Bureau, he has research experience in the crop seed industry with Pioneer Hi-bred in Johnston, Iowa and livestock with Smithfield Foods in Milford, Utah.
Mr. Liddell earned a BS degree from Utah State University in Business/Agricultural Business and an MBA in Food Chain Management form the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, United Kingdom.
Decision Innovation Solutions
As executive director of Decision Innovation Solutions, Spencer Parkinson is responsible for business generation, ensuring client satisfaction and managing the overall operations of the business. He also seeks to understand clients’ data challenges, propose potential solutions and works with clients to enhance their decisionmaking processes.
Originally from the southeastern Idaho/northern Utah corridor, Spence relocated to the Des Moines, Ia., area in 2005 when he began working as a research analyst for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. Areas of research at Farm Bureau included agricultural policy analysis and economic modeling related to several industries important to Iowa agriculture.
Spence also instructed QuickBooks classes to farmers while working as a Research Assistant for Utah State University Extension. Spence has extensive hands-on agriculture experience, including 12 years working on a Utah dairy farm. Spence earned a dual BS degree in Accounting and Economics from Utah State University. He also earned an International MBA in Food and Agribusiness from the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, England.
Clayton Agri-Marketing, Inc.
Anthony E. (Tony) Clayton has over 25 years of experience in the exportation of livestock and other agricultural products from the U.S. Before establishing his own company, Mr. Clayton was employed by the Missouri Department of Agriculture as a Coordinator of International Marketing Program for seven years.
After leaving the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Mr. Clayton joined the staff of a private export company as Director of Market Development. During this tenure, Mr. Clayton was successful in exporting beef and dairy cattle, swine, sheep, goats and equine to countries such as Bahamas, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand, Peru and the Philippines.
Clayton Agri-Marketing, Inc. is considered one of the leading livestock and agricultural exporters in the United States and has successfully exported live animals genetics and related agricultural equipment to 44 different countries.
The Center for Food Integrity
Allyson Perry joined The Center for Food Integrity in July 2009. Her agriculture roots run deep, and she is passionate about building trust in the food system. She grew up on a farm and worked in the pork industry for 18 years in public affairs, government and human resources, and she was a pork producer herself.
Allyson is a top-notch communicator who takes pride in creating win/win situations and basic common sense. She is a former member of the Missouri Pork Producers and serves on the board of the Agribusiness Association of Iowa - the largest association of ag retailers in the nation - having served as the first female chairperson.
In her spare time, she sings in three choirs at church and serves on the leadership team for the chancel choir. She holds a B.S. in Marketing from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK.
Dr. Robert Fraley
Dr. Robert Fraley is executive vice president and chief technology officer at Monsanto. He has been with the company for more than 30 years, and currently oversees the company’s global technology division which includes plant breeding, plant biotechnology, ag biologicals, ag microbials, precision agriculture and crop protection.
Dr. Fraley is recognized as the father of agricultural biotechnology, and has been involved in ag research since the early 1980s. He has authored more than 100 publications and patent applications. Dr. Fraley’s discoveries and applications of science are also routinely recognized for the tremendous impact they’ve had in supporting farmers and the agriculture demands of our planet. Dr. Fraley’s honors include: a World Food Prize Laureate (2013), the National Medal of Technology from President Clinton (1999), the National Academy of Sciences Award for the Industrial Application of Science for his work on crop improvement (2008), among other recognitions.
Kyle is a co-founder and Partner at Cultivation Capital. He leads the the operations team of nine staff members which manages three venture funds and three accelerator programs. Last year they oversaw 53 transactions and $13.1M in investments. He also serves on the board of Label Insight, and is a Venture Partner at the Yield Lab AgTech Accelerator.
Prior to Cultivation, Kyle founded a St. Louis-based angel investment group that focused on financial services technology start-ups called FinServe Tech Angels. He recruited accredited investors to join as members, and reviewed companies seeking to present before the group for funding. FinServe made a $250,000 investment in a St. Louis-based company, and ultimately merged into the St. Louis Arch Angels in September 2012. Prior to FinServe, Kyle spent four years working at the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center helping companies with fundraising.
Missouri Farm Bureau
Dan Cassidy was appointed as chief administrative officer of the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation and Affiliated Companies, effective April 1, 2003. In addition to his administrative duties, Dan coordinates Farm Bureau’s legislative and political action programs and serves as a lobbyist for the farm organization at the state and national levels. Dan has legislative experience from previous state and national positions and served as the Director of National Legislative Programs for the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation from 1996 - 2002.
Prior to joining Farm Bureau, Dan held the positions of Deputy Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture; Legislative Assistant for Agriculture with U. S. Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond; and Program Director for the University of Missouri Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute (FAPRI).
Dan is a native of New Mexico and a graduate of New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics. He holds a Masters degree in Agricultural Economics and a Ph.D in Natural Resource Policy from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Dan and his wife Linda live on a farm in Callaway County and have three daughters.
With over 36 years with the Farm Credit System, David Janish has served in a variety of corporate management, operations, business services and information technology roles in the Farm Credit System.
Janish was raised on a diversified livestock, row crop and grain operation near Kimball, S.D. He received bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and computer science from the University of South Dakota and an MBA in finance from Regis University in Denver, Colo.
David D. Janish was named Chief Executive Officer of FCS Financial in 2013.
Former Director of Agriculture
Dr. Jon Hagler currently serves as a senior advisor for global business and regulatory affairs for AgXplore International. He was appointed as Missouri’s Director of Agriculture by Governor Jay Nixon in 2009 and served until October 2013. Before becoming director, Hagler worked at the University of Missouri-Rolla and California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, concentrating on corporate research and development, governmental affairs and international outreach. He holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Truman State University, a master’s in political science and government from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a doctorate in political science and government from Washington University-St. Louis.
Missouri Rice Research & Merchandising Council
Eric Hover is a lifelong resident of Harviell, Mo., where he lives with his two sons Braiden and Mason. Eric farms alongside his father and grandfather producing rice, soybeans and wheat in southern Butler County.
Eric has served on the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council for nearly five.
Former Director of Agriculture
John Saunders is a managing partner and co-owner of Rangeline Farms and a broker/owner of John Saunders Real Estate. Before returning to the family farm in 1964, he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Agriculture from the University of Missouri.
He helped organize the DeKalb Co. Pork Producers in 1972 and then served as the president of both the Missouri Pork Producers Association and the National Pork Producers Council.
In 1993, Governor Mel Carnahan appointed John as Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture where he served for eight years. During his tenure, he implemented strategic planning and assisted in the Missouri State Fair's transition to commission governance.
Missouri Dairy Association
Ted Sheppard started in the dairy business in May 1977, when he married his wife Barbara, whose family had dairy cows. Ted has been dairy farming in Cabool, Mo., for more than 40 years and has served as the president of the Missouri Dairy Association.
Ted currently serves on the Missouri State Fair commission where he works alongside his fellow commissioners to tell agriculture's story at Missouri's largest agricultural showcase.