Inaugural Missouri Grown Pioneer Award

2016: Stark Bro's has been to chosen to receive the Missouri Department of Agriculture's first Missouri Grown Pioneer Award on December 14.

L-R: Richard Fordyce, Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture; Ken Lane, Stark Bro's Chief Marketing Officer, and Ken Struemph, Ag Business Development Division Director. Louisiana, MO — December 20, 2016 — The Missouri Department of Agriculture has chosen Stark Bro's Nurseries & Orchards Co. to receive the agency's first Missouri Grown Pioneer Award. Stark Bro's Chief Marketing Officer Ken Lane accepted the award December 14 at the 47th Governor's Conference on Agriculture. The Missouri Grown Pioneer Award recognizes a Missouri agriculture business or producer that has had a lasting impact on the state's agriculture industry. "It's been our privilege to recognize Stark Bro's 200th anniversary this year. We think there is no better honoree for the Missouri Grown Pioneer Award," said Christi Miller, the Department's AgriMissouri Manager. The award was presented by the Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Richard Fordyce. The name of the award couldn't be more apt. Stark Bro's was founded in 1816 by James Hart Stark, a true pioneer who brought apple tree scions from Kentucky and helped establish fruit-growing west of the Mississippi. Those scions, which were eventually grafted onto local crabapple trees and grown in Stark's Missouri orchard, would become what is now the world's oldest fruit-tree nursery and the world's largest online direct-to-consumer nursery. Ken Lane, who has shepherded the company through a myriad of celebrations, awards and accolades throughout this, Stark Bro's bicentennial year, was "honored and humbled to have represented Stark Bro's" at the conference. Lane added, "I'd like to express my sincere thanks to Director Fordyce, who also presented us with a special proclamation during an appearance he made at our facilities this past summer. For the company to receive such attention and support from our state is very, very gratifying and we are truly grateful." Stark Bro's will begin its 201st year in business this coming January.