JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon praised Missouri farmers for helping feed, fuel and clothe Americans and people throughout the world during a visit Tuesday to a central Missouri farm to celebrate "Thank a Farmer Day."
Nixon said farming has been a hallmark of Missouri's economy since it became a state and residents can thank farmers for the plentiful food available in grocery stores and restaurants.
"Missouri farmers are creating jobs, supporting local businesses and helping our communities thrive," Nixon said.
The governor visited Fischer Farms Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze in southern Callaway County just across the Missouri River from the state Capitol. The farm grows corn and soybeans, and in the fall has hayrides, a 10-acre corn maze and sells pumpkins. Nixon said pumpkins, gourds and other decorations used at the Governor's Mansion this year came from the farm.
The farm's owners, Jay and Kim Fischer, received a state award Tuesday for agricultural achievement.
Missouri Agriculture Department Director Jon Hagler said "Thank a Farmer Day" is intended to recognize the sacrifices and effort required to produce safe and affordable food for the nation.
"When the farmers do well, America does well. There is more activity on Main Street. Small businesses thrive, schools are better funded, there is more money in the church plate on Sunday," Hagler said
Many of Missouri's farmers have faced challenges this year with flooding on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.
State officials estimate Missouri has about 108,000 farms and that the average farm size is roughly 269 acres. There are more than 29 million acres of agricultural land.