MAEP - Explore Missouri

Description: Explore Missouri is an annual tour that the past MAEP president host in their county office area. It is a great time for the membership and their families to come together and learn what Missouri has to offer. 


July 6 and 7, 2016.  Hosted by Sarah Denkler in Southeast Missouri

We invite you to attend.  If you need a hotel the group will be staying at the Holiday Inn, 115 Hospitality Dr. Sikeston, MO 63801; Phone:(573) 475-9522.   

If you plan to attend, please email Sarah Denkler ( and let her know how many will be attending so that we can make sure to have the correct amount of food.  We will provide dinner on Wednesday night and Lunch on Thursday.  The hotel will have breakfast.

We will tour the following agricultural businesses in southeast Missouri:


  • MaKaskle Family Farm in Bragadocio - Steve and Kaye McKaskle have continued the farming tradition in Braggadocio Missouri with five generations in the company. They have progressed from conventional cotton and soybean farming to organic. Using rotational systems, they farm over 1000 acres organically growing popcorn, Basmati and regular long-grain rice, soybeans, winter wheat and oats. They have added technical systems to their operation to decrease cost and to control quality. By forming a new company, they market their organic popcorn and rice under the Braggadocio® name, found in area organic and conventional grocery stores. They will discuss their experiences as they diversified what they grow, altered their growing techniques, changed their market clientele and added sustainable resources.
  • Delta Bees CO. based in Kennett – Neal Bergman owns Delta Bee Co., a commercial specialty operation in Kennett, MO with 6,000 hives. This multistate beekeeper was established in 1982 and uses bees to pollinate crops in southeast Missouri and beyond. The company has converted an old schoolhouse into their processing plant and home base. Learn how this company stay afloat in an apocalyptic pollinator environment.
  • Bader Peach Farms in Campbell - Bill Bader began by working on peach farms each summer, picking, grading, packing, whatever was needed. In 1986 he bought a 150-acre peach farm near Campbell, Missouri which has expanded to over 1000 acres with nearly 110,000 trees. Although the Crowley’s Ridge soil is fertile with good protection from frost, Bader farms has had its share of natural and manmade mishaps from ice storms to spray drift.
    By expanding the storage and cooling facility and putting in a local retail market, Bader’s has become the premier supplier of 30 varieties of peaches. In addition, they grow and sell nectarines, cantaloupe, watermelons, blackberries, strawberries, apples, tomatoes, pecans, corn, alfalfa hay and a bag of peach smoker wood. Now considered the largest peach grower in Missouri, learn how this extended family farm keeps things moving.


  • Parker Bros Farms in Sikeston – Cotton production has changed in every way since its beginnings. Equipment becomes larger and markets change yearly. Tour this cotton farm and learn how Missouri cotton production continues to change and evolve with time.
  • Hamra Farms in Sikeston - Steve Hamra, of Hamra Farms in Sikeston, MO started selling his hydroponically grown lettuce to restaurants and grocery stores about six years ago. Looking for new markets, he then became interested in selling to schools around Stoddard County. In the 2009-2010 school year, Steve was selling to 13 schools and looking for more to work with. By growing vegetables hydroponically, he can grow year-round as much as 1500 heads of bib lettuce per week, along with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash. The produce is shipped earlier, reducing spoilage which works well for Farm to School. Learn how this small enterprise has become commonplace in schools in three states.
  • Beggs Melons in Benton - Beggs Family Farm is part of Beggs Melon Company, Inc., a real working farm in business since 1895. In addition to supplying large retail companies with watermelon the farm offers opportunities to observe a working farm to schools through field trips and seasonal festivals.
    Students can get lost in the cornfield maze, relax on a wagon, interact with farm animals, pick a pumpkin right from the patch and eat delicious home-made fudge. Learn from the experiences in growing, marketing and shipping vegetables, obtaining GAP certification and in the diversification of their interstate farm operation into farm tourism.
    As designed, the meeting will cover topics of interest in agronomy, horticulture, ag business, engineering and value added agriculture all wrapped up into a manageable tour.


2015, June (Atchison County - NW Region)            Hosted by Jim Crawford, past President of MAEP

Wind Farms of Atchison County

Hurst Greenery, Blake and Julie Hurst

Advanced Pork Systems, Fairfax, MO

Golden Triangle Energy, Craig, MO

Graves-Chapple Research Center



2014, June (Livingston County - NW Region)            Hosted by Kevin Hansen, past President of MAEP

    Forage Systems Research Center

   Chillicothe Fish Farm

    Providence Farms (Gerry and Lisa Newman)

   Trans Ova Genetics

   Jamesport Vegetable Auction


2012, June (Vernon County - SW Region)            Hosted by Wayne Prewitt, past president of MAEP

Missouri Northern Pecans, Green Spring Bull Test Station, Kitten Creek Dairy, Twin Counties Produce


2013, June (Boone County - NE Region)            Hosted by Kent Shannon, past president of MAEP

Meeting held at Les Bourgeois Winery and Vineyards


2010 (Franklin County - EC Region)            Hosted by Matt Herring, past president of MAEP


2008 (Carroll County - CM Region)           Hosted by Parman Green, past president of MAEP

      Shepherd Farms, Inc. - Clifton Hill

      AGRIServices of Brunswick, LLC

     Pin Oak Hills - Bogard

            Peter's Orchard - Waverly                                      

       Baltimore Bend Vineyard - Waverly


 2009 (Atchison County - NW Region)            Hosted by Amie Schleicher, past president of MAEP

        Places visited:   Terry and Cathy Lesher Farm; Supper & Meeting at Black Iron Grill; "Great" Breakfast Provided by Atchison Extension Faculty and Staff; Cow Branch Wind Farm   

         Jim Pierson, Private Lands Conservationist, Brickyard Hill Conservation Area  (Loess Hills)  

        Bob Chapple at Graves-Chapple Research and Demonstration Farm     






     Jesse S. - MAEP "trainee"