Missouri Department of Agriculture

The Missouri Agriculture Department is hoping Farm-to-School value-added grants will bring more locally produced food into schools.
Stephanie Lecci

The Missouri Department of Agriculture will soon announce the winners of competitive grants aimed at increasing the amount of locally produced foods in school, while growing local businesses.

The Farm-to-School Value-Added grants will go to businesses that either buy or process foods from local farmers, or are food producers themselves. The applicants must already have a relationship with schools, either directly or through a distributor. 

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

An audit of the Missouri Department of Agriculture takes issue with some pay raises, failure to carry out some inspections, and incomplete reports from a board that promotes the state's wine industry.

But state Auditor Tom Schweich says the Agriculture Department received an overall "good" rating in spite of those issues.

One of the key questions is why 10 employees were given unusually large pay raises over a two-year period by former director Jon Hagler.

Office of Gov. Jay Nixon

Gov. Jay Nixon has named a new director for Missouri's Department of Agriculture.

Nixon has appointed Richard Fordyce of Bethany to take over the state agency immediately. Harry Bozoian, who has served as acting director, has been named deputy director.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) has announced the formation of another investigative committee, this time to look into allegations of a hostile work environment at the state Department of Agriculture.

The committee's formation comes weeks after the announced resignation of former Agriculture Director Jon Hagler, and follows the release of a letter by a former Agriculture department employee who accused Hagler of creating a hostile work place.  The committee will be chaired by State Representative Casey Guernsey (R, Bethany).

(via Flickr/bradleypjohnson)

A proposed rule change that would have allowed more ethanol to be blended into gasoline sold in Missouri has been shot down by a joint legislative committee.

Earlier this week, the Missouri Department of Agriculture asked the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to allow the change, saying that E-15 is both safe and good for the state's economy.  But State Senator and committee chair Eric Schmitt (R, Glendale) says the proposal would have violated state law.

Ed Spevak|Saint Louis Zoo

The Missouri Department of Agriculture is launching a new initiative to try to create some buzz about bees.

Agriculture Director Jon Hagler says “The Great Missouri Buzz Off” aims to educate Missourians about bees and beekeeping.

“Whether it be honeybees, or native bees, they’re so vital to our agriculture’s success, and to our horticulture’s success, and we have such amazing resources here in our state,” Hagler said.