October 20, 2010
Gov. Nixon presents agricultural achievement award to Chaffee corn-grower Jerry Cox
CHAFFEE, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon today visited Chaffee, Mo., to recognize Jerry Cox, one of Missouri's top corn-growers, with the Governor's Award for Agricultural Achievement, which honors outstanding farmers, growers and processors in a variety of commodities.
In 2009, Cox placed in two categories in the National Corn Growers' Yield Contest. He earned second place in the ridge till non-irrigated category, with a yield of 296.5 bushels per acre, and he took third in the ridge till irrigated category, with a yield of 309.9 bushels per acre. By contrast, the national average is around 155 bushels per acre.
Over the past 15 years, Jerry and his son, Matthew, have placed in the national yield competition 23 times, including four first-place finishes in the past five years. In the past 10 years, they have placed 27 times in the state yield contest, including 13 first-place finishes.
"Agriculture is the backbone of Missouri's economy, and growers like Jerry Cox are the reason why," Gov. Nixon said. "Missouri farmers feed, fuel and clothe world, and they also create jobs, support local businesses and help our communities thrive. When it comes to corn, Jerry Cox and others in southeast Missouri are taking the science to a whole new level, and their work is breaking new ground that will keep Missouri agriculture moving forward."
During his visit today, Gov. Nixon and Director of Agriculture Jon Hagler toured part of Cox's operation, near Chaffee, and presented Cox with a certificate.
"Missouri farmers like Jerry Cox are truly blazing new trails in terms of efficiency, quality and yields," said Dr. Jon Hagler, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. "Under Gov. Nixon's leadership, we will continue to support Missouri farmers to help them thrive and prosper in the 21st century economy."
Cox is regarded as a national authority on soil fertility, and he works with other farmers to identify ways to increase the nutrients reaching their plants. He manages both irrigated and dry-land fields.
In 2009, Missouri farmers harvested more than 2.9 million acres of corn, or 446 million bushels, which is a cash value of about $1.6 billion. Corn is Missouri's No. 2 crop, both by acreage farmed and cash value. Missouri ranks 10th in the nation for corn production.
The majority of corn grown in Missouri is exported to other states and countries. About 20 percent of the corn produced in Missouri stays in the state and is used for ethanol production at six farmer-owned ethanol cooperatives. Much of the remaining corn is used as feed for the animal-agriculture industry.
Gov. Nixon recognized two other agriculture leaders with awards today. He presented the Governor's Award for Agricultural Achievement in cotton to the Matthews Cotton Co. near Sikeston; and the Governor's Award for Agricultural Achievement in rice to Martin Rice Co. near Bernie.
Last week, Gov. Nixon recognized Kip Cullers, holder of the world record for soybean yield, with the Governor's Award for that crop.