Community Food Systems and
Sustainable Agriculture Program

Grant Recipients and Grant Program History

Missouri Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Award Program History

This competitive grant program for farmers started in 1995 with the support of the Missouri legislature. For the first six years of the program, 23 grants of up to $3,000 each were awarded to farmers across the state. Demonstration Award recipients multiplied this small investment into much larger benefits for farmers throughout Missouri and the Midwest. For example:

  • Karen Riley of Elmo monitored wind speed and direction on her farm to explore the potential for wind power. Using Karen's information as a starting point, the Department of Natural Resources Energy Center started a statewide wind energy assessment.
  • Bill Regan of Columbia discovered how to reduce the use of pesticides in his commercial greenhouses by experimenting with integrated pest management (IPM). Jefferson Institute, in partnership with the Missouri Department of Agriculture, used Regan's research to obtain an EPA grant to promote IPM to other growers.
  • Kenneth Suter and the late Mark Trump of Wyaconda wanted to create a custom mineral supplement specific to their cattle and soil type. They made their data available to Extension specialists who developed the Trump-Suter Mineral Calculator - a software program for cattle producers throughout the Midwest.

Success stories like these convinced Missouri legislators to increase the size of the program to 30 grants of $4,500 each in 2001. Unfortunately, state budget withholding reduced the number and amount of awards in 2002 through 2005. To help meet the demand for the grants, the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry and Thomas Jefferson Agricultural Institute helped sponsors targeted grants in 2004 and 2005.

The grants encourage producers to reduce their dependence on non renewable resources such as petroleum and minerals, and promote the preservation of natural resources such as soil, water, and air. They help farmers test techniques that will make their farms ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially responsible. The Demonstration Award Program is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Agriculture with support from the Community Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture Program of the University of Missouri and Lincoln University.

Farmers who participate in the Demonstration Award Program share the results of their projects through written reports, field days, and conference presentations. Their projects are reported in newspaper and magazine articles and reach a wide audience of farmers, extension educators, and others interested in sustainable agriculture.

A six member selection committee, made up of two farmers, two representatives from the Missouri Department of Agriculture, one representative from the University of Missouri, and one representative from Lincoln University chooses which grants to fund each year. The Missouri Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Award Program has awarded 244 grants since 1995.

Missouri Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Awards 2005

1. Cost-Effective Pasture Renovation for a Sustainable Grass-Based Farm
Bright operates a grass-based dairy in north central Missouri. His farm consists of 208 acres with 160 acres in a rotational grazing system. Bright will use 25 acres to evaluate different pasture renovation scenarios that can improve his forage quality. The project will help Missouri farmers who are trying to decide the best way to renovate poor quality fescue pastures. The goal is to: "optimize animal performance, reduce input costs, properly manage soils and the eco-system, and sustainably support the farm family for future generations."
Eric Bright
34560 Mabry Road
Bucklin, MO 64631

2. Increasing Profitability of a Sheep Enterprise through Rotational Grazing and Adding Value to My Animals by Producing SNACK STICKS High in Omega-3 and CLA
Everhart will explore direct marketing opportunities for her lamb snack sticks in order to increase profits. She will promote the health aspects of the snack sticks and inform consumers about the benefits of grassfed products, which have increased levels of Omega-3 and conjugated linoliec acid (CLA). Everhart plans to increase the pounds of lamb she produces per acre by using a rotational grazing system.
Susan K. Everhart
11001 Monroe Road 959
Madison, MO 65263

3. Researching the Economic Viability of Agricultural Seed Production of Missouri Native Fescue
Flick will conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the success of producing Missouri native fescue seed commercially. Flick believes native fescue could be used to replace tall fescue and help solve the problems tall fescue poses for livestock. He will determine if Missouri farmers can grow the seed, creating a new crop opportunity for them, and will determine if he can create a market for the seed in forage systems, for wildlife plantings, and for reclaiming construction areas on public lands.
Steve A. Flick
1790 NW 50 Road
Kingsville, MO 64061

4. North City Urban Farm and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Grim will address the lack of local food sources in urban areas. Through her project, she will transform vacant lots into an urban farm with the help of local groups, neighbors, and city organizations. Grim will operate a CSA, which is a marketing system that gets consumers involved in the production of their food and provides support for farmers. Participants pay a fee up front to help supply operating capital to farmers. In return, they receive weekly supplies of produce throughout the growing season. Grim will also create a children's ecology and permaculture education program to involve children in the farm's activities and help educate them about producing and using local food.
Trish Grim
1450 Monroe
St. Louis, MO 63106

5. Comparison of Two Types of Irrigation Systems Using a Solar Powered Irrigation Pump
The Johnsons will address the irrigation problems rural Missouri vegetable producers face when their growing sites do not have access to electric power. Often times, the best soils for growing vegetables are not near utility access, and running electric lines to these sites is prohibitively expense. The Johnsons will compare two solar-powered irrigation systems for a market garden in the Ozark area of southeast Missouri. They will determine if solar-powered trickle and furrow systems can provide enough water volume for irrigation, and will compare the efficiency of each system, ease of use, and yield.
Gary and Joanna Johnson
Rt. 2, Box 256E
Doniphan, MO 63935

6. Weed Management in Organic Asparagus through the Use of Foraging Geese and Poultry
Martin is looking for a way to control broadleaf weeds and grass in an organic system. Mechanical cultivation is not a possibility for asparagus, which has a shallow root system. Manual weeding is extremely labor intensive and time consuming. Through the use of weeder geese and poultry, Martin hopes to reduce weeds, add nitrogen through the addition of manure, provide pest control, and produce an additional crop to sell: eggs.
Michael W. Martin
2097 Four Mile Road
Washington, MO 63090

7. Raising Sustainable Fall Vegetables to Diversify the Family Farm
Perry is a livestock farmer who plans to diversity his farm by raising fall vegetables without the use of chemical fertilizers. He will rotate the crops and livestock so the cattle provide fertilizer for the crops, and early plantings and unharvested plant materials provide forage for the livestock. Crops will be sold to the Missouri Rural Crisis Center's statewide network of food cooperatives. Perry hopes to increase his income and provide high-quality food at affordable prices to low-income families.
Ron Perry
15090 Liv 228
Chillicothe, MO 64601

8. Reduce Tillage of Cool Season Annuals Using Cover Crops and Horsepower
The Reads raise flowers for florists and farmers' markets. They have recently taken over additional clients from a retiring farmer and have quadrupled their customer base. To meet demand, they will be increasing their production area and looking for ways to extend their growing season, improve the soil, and provide weed control without hand weeding or applying herbicides. They will trial a reduced tillage system that will make extensive use of cover crops and eliminate spring tillage. They will use horses to prepare the planting areas, which will allow them to get into the fields in late winter and early spring, when it is often too wet to plant with tractors. The horses will also provide a source of manure for compost and reduce soil compaction.
Andrew and Carrie Read
Sweetleaf Farm
4318 Glaser Hollow Road
Bland, MO 65014

9. Fiber Fling 2005
Speakman will address the problem of marketing fiber-producing livestock and value-added fiber products by creating a bi-yearly market. Presently, Missouri farmers who raise fiber animals, cotton, flax, etc. in southeast Missouri have to travel long distances to sell their animals and crops. The 2005 Fiber Fling Markets will be held on April 16-17 and November 5-6. The markets will provide a place to promote and sell fiber animals and products and teach others about production techniques and home manufacturing. The market will attract producers and buyers from Missouri and surrounding states.
Burness Speakman
7010 W. Highway 72
Fredericktown, MO 63645

10. Sustainable Growing of Delicious Figs in Missouri: Evaluation of Growing Figs in the Open Versus High Tunnel Greenhouse, In Respect to Increased Production and Extended Harvest Season
Stoilov will explore the feasibility of fig and cool-season vegetable production in high tunnel greenhouses heated with alternative energy sources. He intends to provide locally-grown figs for customers, demonstrate a new alternative crop for Missouri farmers, increase his growing season, and increase income through production of a high-value crop. Stoilov's production methods will reduce the use of petroleum products that would otherwise be required for heating the greenhouse and for shipping figs to Missouri.
Ivan Stoilov
8517 Dittmer Catawissa Road
Dittmer, MO 63023

11. Hoop House Hog Production in Missouri
Wiehardt will evaluate the economic and environmental sustainability of small-scale hoop house hog production on Missouri family farms. The hoop houses are inexpensive to build and rely on deep-straw bedding for manure management. The bedding will help capture the hog waste, preventing runoff and supplying a fertilizer, which can be used for crop production. Wiehardt will build two hoop houses - one to fatten up to 100 market hogs and one to house 8 to 10 sows and their piglets.
Carl Wiehardt
740 County Road 210
Glasgow, MO 65254


12. Using Valuable Shade-Loving Native Plants for Diversification and Expansion of a Forest Farming Operation
O'Connor will explore planting techniques for native medicinal plants (e.g. ginseng, bloodroot, goldenseal, and black cohosh), and for native plants that can be sold as shade-tolerant landscape plants. She will also research market opportunities and test deer-control strategies. Her study will help provide high-value alternatives for farmers who have wooded hilly land that they are not able to use for traditional crop production.
Heather O'Connor
2246 Concordia Drive
Columbia, MO 65203

13. Trial of Novel Eurasian and Native North American Continental Climate-adapted Woody Perennial Fruits and Berries as Commercial Crops for Northern Missouri
Salt will make trial small-scale commercial planting of newly available woody perennial fruiting plants including aronias, Cornelian cherries, goumis, honey berries, pawpaws, and more. He will evaluate their adaptability to northern Missouri, identify pest problems (most of the plants are said to be virtually pest and disease free), and work out harvest techniques and post-harvest storage and handling procedures. Salt will test consumer acceptance through his family's farmers' market stand, CSA service, and through grocery store and restaurant sales. His project has the potential to open up new markets for farmers, with alternative woody crops that can grow on steep ground unsuited for row crops and grazing.
Steven D. Salt
28461 Linderville Trail
Kirksville, MO 63501-8234

14. Using Native Plants to Create Neighbor-Friendly Buffer Zones for an Organic Garden
Williams will plant and grow a buffer to protect organic market garden crops from airborne pollutants and erosion. By using native plants, she is striving to create a buffer that will also be attractive to birds and other wildlife, as well as to her human neighbors. Purchasing native plants for the buffer will help support Missouri businesses, the birds the buffer attracts will help control pests in the garden, and preventing the entry of pesticides from neighboring properties will help meet the demands of customers for organic products. A successful buffer will provide a model other growers can use to help them meet the requirements of organic certification.
Linda A. Williams
Windrush Farm
3503 Sand Creek Road
Farmington, MO 63640-7345


FIRST ALTERNATE: Assessing the Viability of Low Cost, Easily Assembled, Portable PVC Pens for Pastured Poultry
Mike Knoll
6351 E. Bass Lane
Columbia, MO 65201

2ND ALTERNATE: Creating a Sustainable Irrigation System Maximizing Renewable Natural Resources
Dan Kuebler
16471 Hawkins Road
Ashland, MO 65010

3RD ALTERNATE: Vermicomposting Demonstration Project
Myrna L. Stark
4360 Walls Ford Rd.
Mansfield, MO 65704

Comments,questions or suggestions for the entire site? Please contact Mary Hendrickson at 573-882-7463 or

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