Facebook Instagram Pinterest

Sign up for email updates from Missouri State Fair Foundation

Home > Preserve & Improve > Missouri Agricultural Hall of Fame

Missouri Agricultural Hall of Fame

William H. Darr 2024 Inductee

The wide-ranging contributions of William “Bill” and Virginia Darr to Missouri agriculture include business, academics and philanthropy. Bill had a lifelong career as a successful agribusinessman, and he and Virginia were dedicated to improving the quality of life in communities throughout Southeast Missouri, including Ellsinore and Cape Girardeau. Bill provided countless hours of service and personal efforts to sustain family farm operations and agribusiness productivity. He was a leader in the seed, ag chemical, pharmaceutical and pet food industries and owned an agricultural aviation business and truck line. The Darrs have been honored by Southeast Missouri State University for their support of its agriculture programs and were instrumental in the expansion and development of the Darr Agricultural Center at Missouri State University. The Darrs also established a scholarship program to recognize students for exceptional academic excellence.

Jay Fischer 2024 Inductee

Jay Fischer has farmed for more than 30 years, growing corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, pumpkins and watermelons in Jefferson City. He, his wife, Kim, and daughter, Jena, also operate an agritourism business, welcoming more than 20,000 visitors to their corn maze and pumpkin patch each fall. Jay works on behalf of the state’s corn farmers, having served as the Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) president and vice president and Missouri Corn Merchandising Council vice chairman and secretary. He currently serves as an ex-officio MCGA board member through his role on the board of directors for the U.S. Grains Council, a partner of Missouri Corn, focused on strengthening and building corn and ethanol markets around the globe. Fischer is active within his community and serves as president of the Capital View Levy District. The family was also recognized with the Governor’s Award for Agriculture in 2011.

Blake & Julie Hurst 2024 Inductees

Blake and Julie Hurst started farming in 1977 on a rented farm near Tarkio. Since then, they’ve produced three children and six grandchildren, added a greenhouse business and grown 44 crops of corn and soybeans. The Hursts have both been active in farm policy. Julie was chairman of the state Farm Service Agency committee, and Blake served for 10 years as president of Missouri Farm Bureau. While at Farm Bureau, Blake helped the organization successfully lobby for farmers across the state and grow in financial strength. Blake also served for 10 years on the American Farm Bureau board. Julie accompanied him during those years, supporting Farm Bureau at hundreds of meetings and events. Blake has also written articles on farm policy for numerous national publications and continues to write today, as his muse and time allow. The Hursts are still farming, growing flowers, watching their grandchildren participate in sports, and traveling together.

Charlie Kruse 2024 Inductee

Dexter native Charles “Charlie” Kruse has a distinguished legacy of service to Missouri agriculture. A graduate of Dexter High School, he received a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Arkansas State University in 1967 and a master’s degree in plant genetics from the University of Missouri in 1974. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout at age 14, and in 2003 was named a Distinguished Eagle Scout by the Boy Scouts of America organization. He spent 26 years in the National Guard, retiring with the rank of brigadier general. He served on the MU Board of Curators, as Missouri director of agriculture and as president of Missouri Farm Bureau from 1992 to 2010. He also served on the board and executive committee for the American Farm Bureau and received its highest honor, the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award, in 2012. He and his wife, Pam, farmed for 38 years, retiring in 2014. They raised two sons, Ben, who died in an ATV accident at age 28, and Scott, principal of Dexter Middle School principal. Scott and his wife, Kerri, have two daughters, Addie and Andie.

Forrest & Charlotte Lucas 2024 Inductees

Forrest and Charlotte Lucas are leaving an enduring legacy for the agricultural industry and communities they serve. Through Protect The Harvest and Lucas Cattle Company, the Lucases have demonstrated what it means to champion causes that protect and nurture American agriculture and rural life. Founded in 2011, Protect The Harvest is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting farmers, ranchers, outdoor enthusiasts and animal owners. The organization continues to achieve important milestones in its mission to ensure “A Free and Fed America.” Located in Cross Timbers, Mo., Lucas Cattle Company spans more than 16,000 acres and is home to the nation’s largest registered Simmental cattle herd and a breeding program for elite cutting horses. In partnership with the Missouri Farmers Care Foundation, Forrest and Charlotte have also dedicated themselves to fighting food insecurity in the state through the Hogs for Hunger initiative and the annual Drive to Feed Kids.

MFA Oil Foundation Awards Grant to Missouri State Fair Foundation-
Columbia, Missouri - The MFA Oil Foundation has awarded a grant to the Missouri State Fair Foundation for the 1901 Society and Inaugural Presenting Sponsorship. The MFA Oil Foundation provides support to nonprofit organizations that are working to improve communities where MFA Oil has a significant concentration of members and employees. Since it was established in 1998, the MFA Oil Foundation has awarded more than three million dollars in grants.
MFA Oil Senior Director of Employee Engagement and Culture Tom May described the MFA Oil Foundation as "a program that allows our company to give support back to the rural communities that are the foundation of our business. The grants the Foundation awards help support many youth programs and organizations active in addressing and solving community problems and improving the quality of life."
About MFA Oil Company:
MFA Oil Company, formed in 1929, is a farmer-owned cooperative and the ninth-largest propane retailer in the United States. The company supplies fuels, lubricants, and propane to customers in Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Through a subsidiary, MFA Oil operates Break Time convenience stores in Missouri; a Big O Tires Franchise in Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas; a solar panel installation company, BluSphere Energy; and APM, a wholesale fuel distributor, visit www.mfaoil.com
Pictured from left to right: Karri Wilson (Missouri State Fair Foundation Executive Director), Rick Yeager (Missouri State Fair Foundation Treasurer), James Greer (MFA Oil Foundation Chairman), Matt Boatright (Missouri State Fair Foundation Executive Board Member), Chad Sayre (Missouri State Fair Foundation Executive Board Member), Bret Kuhns (Missouri State Fair Foundation Board Member) and Kari Mergen (Missouri State Fair Marketing Director).

MFA Incorporated supports the inaugural Missouri Agricultural Hall of Fame introduced this year by the Missouri State Fair Foundation. Members of the MFA Charitable Foundation, Ernie Verlues, Pam Hiller, and Steve Fairchild, recently presented a $25,000 sponsorship to MO State Fair Foundation Executive Director Karri Wilson and board member Chad Sayre.
Back to