Agriculture Hall of Fame Awards

2018 Ag Hall of Fame

JR Schmidt

JR Schmidt has been known throughout his life for his passion for Angus cattle and his support of Agriculture in Nodaway County. He graduated from Maryville High School in 1949, when he purchased his first registered Angus cow, which was the beginning of his cow herd. He attended four quarters of college until he was drafted into US Army, through the Korean War. In 1956, he married Shirley Joyner and they purchased their first farm in 1960, southwest of Maryville. Through the years, he has owned and operated a purebred Angus cow-calf operation, while providing Angus seed stock bulls to fellow cattlemen. In addition, he produced soybeans, corn and hay, while working as a Fontanelle Seed Dealer

JR gave generously of himself through public service,

  • He served as a past board member for the Missouri Farm Bureau in Nodaway County
  • As a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles
  • A past Deacon of the First Christian Church in Maryville
  • A past Executive Board Member of United Producers
  • A past Trustee of Polk Township Board
  • Member of the American Angus Association
  • Served on the MFA Livestock Association Board

Building and maintaining a strong family business, he and his wife of 62 years have raised three children, Debbie, Steve and Dave. They enjoy their seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. They were awarded the Nodaway County Farm Family in 1988, and he has remained active in the cattle industry even beyond retirement. He has continued to serve on the United Producers Executive Board until 2009. Today, he has over 1,100 acres, in addition to cattle, which he rents and leases to his son.


2017 Agriculture Hall of Fame

Richard and Lois Brand

Richard was born during the Great Depression on his parents’ farm west of Hopkins, and as a boy plowed corn with a mule.  While in high school, he became a charter member of the Hopkins Future Farmers of America.  He was drafted into the United States Army after high school and served as a supply sergeant in Korea.  Lois grew up on the Earl and Cuma Alexander farm south of Hopkins.  Selling cream and eggs in town on Saturday night is now a fond memory.

Richard and Lois began their agricultural life journey together in 1956, renting and eventually purchasing and moving to the Russ Allen farm east of Hopkins.  They worked side-by-side, cleaning up the farm, putting up hay, farrowing sows, calving beef cows and milking 18 dairy cows by hand, with two small children in tow.  The little farm house they made their home had no running water, let alone tight windows and doors.

As their family grew, so did their farm.  Agriculture community work was also a priority.  Lois served as a 4-H club leader and instructor for clothing, foods and child development, and Richard sponsored a swine production unit.  Many nights were spent working at men’s church suppers, community club dinners, Hopkins Picnic food stands, BINGO tents, and singing in a quartet for community and church events.  It was important to them to raise their four children in church, even as the demands of farming were always present.

In 1968 the couple purchased the McCleave farm, located on a high hill south of Hopkins, and Richard and Lois began painstakingly building the farmstead into the showplace it is today.  Good stewardship of the land has always been a priority and the hard work cleaning up and improving the farmsteads was foremost.  Over ten miles of terraces built; field tile placed, roads raised, barns straightened, miles and miles of fence rows cleared and rebuilt, grain storage added, ponds constructed, and pastures improved with some land also enrolled into the Conservation Reserve Program.  For many years, soybeans were stored, cleaned and bagged to sell as seed the following spring.  Careful management, breeding and selection has always been integral to their operation, marketing the corn crop on the hoof to hedge against low commodity prices.  Richard was an early adopter of efficient confinement operation, with one of the largest farrow-to-finish swine operations in the area.  The cattle operation also consisted of an efficient feedlot operation with upright silos, a concrete feeding system and nutrition-tested feeding program.  These silos have become a local landmark, and travelers south of Hopkins still enjoy the Christmas Star atop the tallest silo.

Membership in Farm Bureau and Pork Producers were avenues for promoting agricultural products and producers.  Richard was asked by the National Pork council to represent hog farmers by testifying before a USDA panel in Washington DC regarding sulfa residue in pork.  They also promoted “The Other White Meat” by volunteering several years at the Missouri State Fair Pork Chop Tent in Sedalia.  For years, Lois kept the farm records through the Missouri Farm Record Keeping System.

Richard was chairman of the county ASCS committee and president of the Hopkins School Board.  He also served on the board of the local 102 Valley Bank, and as a deacon and pulpit search committee chairman at church.  Lois served on the Hopkins Community Club, Christian Women’s Fellowship, PEO, and helped work to establish the Hopkins Housing Corporation, serving as an officer since its formation.  They were proud hosts to foreign exchange students from Ecuador and Brazil.  They were named Nodaway County Farm Family in 1981.  Several summers they volunteered at Camp Quality and helped organize the Show-Me Tractor Cruise.

Still active on the farm and their agricultural community, they continue to volunteer in various capacities: organizing the local antique tractor show, Alumni Banquet registration, Hopkins Picnic quilt show and working for the NAFB scholarship foundation.  Blessed with a desire to honor agricultural history, Richard enjoys restoring antique farm machinery which have been featured on calendars, RFD TV and Farm Journal TV.  They are grateful to God for the privilege of working with His creation, and celebrated 60 years of marriage April 8, 2016.


Summary of endeavors:

  • Livestock Improvement:  Hogs:  genetics selected for ideal conformation, sturdiness to tolerate concrete and confinement; sold bred gilts, purebred Large White boars.  Cattle:  Still an active cattleman, they maintain a 100-cow Angus cross herd

  • Crop Improvement: practices pasture improvement; no-till, minimum tillage practices; tiling and terrace management, excellent farm stewardship

  • Soil and Water Conservation:  participates in proactive land conservation practices, including the CRP program; built ponds, terraces, waterway management

  • Farm Organizations:  Farm bureau, FFA supporter and Lifetime Alumni Member

  • Leadership:  Hopkins Housing corporation, Show Me Tractor Cruise, 102 Valley Bank board, Community Club, North Nodaway Alumni Banquet committee, Chapter K PEO, CWF

  • Educations:  North Nodaway School Board member and President; hosts for foreign exchange students; 4-H project leaders

  • Government:  ASCS County Committee, USDA testimony

  • Marketing:  Nodaway County, Missouri and National Pork Producers Association

  • Other:  Hopkins Historical Society, Hopkins and Sheridan Christian Church involvement, antique farm machine restoration, good friends and neighbors, and many other volunteer activities too numerous to mention


2016 Agriculture Hall of Fame Award

2016 Nodaway County Agriculture Hall of Fame Inductee

James E. Cline

The Nodaway County University of Missouri Extension Council has been presenting the Agricultural Hall of Fame award annually since 1976.  Hall of Fame nominees must have been born or spent a significant part of their lives as a resident of Nodaway County and have a direct relationship to agricultural progress in the County.  Our 2016 recipient meets these qualifications and more!

He was known throughout his life for his desire to help people and for his compassion.  He graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Agricultural Economics and served our country through World War 2, the Korean War and retired from the National Guard in 1962.  Following his service in World War 2, he returned home and taught fellow returning servicemen agriculture education courses.

A proponent of education, he served as Vocational Agriculture Instructor at the Maryville High School as well as serving on the Maryville Board of Education.

He supported others in the agriculture industry through his work as manager of the Consumers Oil Company and as President of Citizens State Bank.  During his time at Citizens, he organized a Four State Cattle Appreciation Day and was featured in a Missouri Ruralist article for his financial knowledge in the agriculture industry.

Continuing to generously give of himself through public service, he served on the Water Improvement Board for Watershed Planning, the Steering Committee for Maryville Industrial Development Corporation, the Steering/Lay Advisory Committee for St. Francis Hospital, the Board of Governors for the American Royal Livestock and Horse Show, and Missouri Governor Hearnes’ Council on Agriculture.

He served as President of the Maryville Junior Chamber of Commerce, President of the Maryville Chamber of Commerce as well as chairman of the Agriculture Committee, President of the Nodaway County Fair Board, President of Otoe District of the Pony Express Council of Boy Scouts and he held all offices on the Board of Missouri Bankers Association.

He was appointed to the Board of the State Chamber of Commerce, the Regional Advisory Committee Board of Directors for Small Business Administration and the National Small Business Administration.  He was an active member of the Rotary Club, the American Legion and First Christian Church of Maryville.

2015 Agriculture Hall of Fame Award

 Jerry and Esther and true examples of a traditional Midwest farm management operation. Yet, this husband and wife team is distinct because of their equal contribution to the management and labor of the business. They have also raise three children, Tina, a professor of communication at Iowa State University, Travis, deceased; and Tonya, an auditor for the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General. Their children contributed time and effort to the day-to-day farm operation for 24 years. The Coffelt farm relied on little hired labor until their son’s death in 1994. They retained one part-time hired hand until 2008, carefully selecting college students majoring in an agriculture-related field. They provided practical experience for 28 college students over the years. Their employment of these young men and women demonstrates their ongoing commitment to the future of agriculture.

Jerry and Esther have lived their entire lives involved in agriculture. Even in their retirement, they strive to help establish young farmers when selecting tenants for the farm. They maintain fruitful gardens, care for a large yard and farmstead, and enjoy the peaceful views of their land.

 It gives me great pleasure to present the 2015 Nodaway County Hall of Fame Inductee Award to Jerry and Esther Coffelt.










2014 Agriculture Hall of Fame Award

Gene Frueh was a lifetime resident and farmer of Nodaway County and was 1 of 12 children born to Leonard and Lucy (Walk) Frueh, April 8 1933, in rural Maryville, Missouri.  His parents had previously moved to Nodaway County in 1924 shortly after Gene’s grandparents had made the move to the county from the state of Iowa.  He attended St. Mary’s Grade School in Maryville, which he and his brothers and sisters would get there driven by a team and buggy. Gene began farming at a young age with his father and brothers using horses and mules.  During his high school years he stripped bluegrass with his brothers in Nebraska where they would then bring seeds back to Kansas City and sell the seed. Gene was a graduate of Maryville High School where he was also a member of the FFA Chapter.  After graduation Gene would travel out west to Montana and Wyoming to do custom work and help with the wheat harvest. Gene also was in the Armed Services for a short time.

In 1953, he married Donna Crocker and they started their long-life farm adventure. Gene and Donna began renting a Nodaway county farm and then purchased their first farm in 1958, and began raising their family of five children; Kenny, Karla, Diane, Randy and Roger. The farming operation included Row crops, cattle and pigs. Later in 1962, Gene bought his parents’ home place; this farm is still in operation today making it a third generation family farm.  In 1993, the family was awarded the Farm Family of the Year Award at the Farm City Banquet.

Gene’s farming operation consisted of land that he either owned or rented spreading over all four corners of the county.  Gene also had a cow/calf operation and row crops. Gene used the local ASCS office for practicing some of his farming land improvements over the years. He would watch or listen to the local markets or other farmers on all the latest markets and best prices.

Gene was a very honest, fair, and hardworking, help thy neighbor kind of man. While not only working hard on his own farm he helped family and friends whether doing custom work or just good neighbor deeds He took interest in other young farmers, helping them get their start in farming.  He helped build houses with his brothers for family members during the winter months.  Gene did a lot of custom work for people and was well known in Nodaway County and surrounding counties.  Gene’s sons believe he was one of the first farmers to have a little round baler in the county and then also to have one of the first big balers in the county which he did much custom baling throughout the county.

Gene was a diversified/exotic farmer raising Emu’s and Ostrich at one point in his farming career. Not many farmers’ can be described as exotic, but Gene was adventurous and enjoyed life and people. One thing many people may not have know about Gene was that he played the piano by ear and would play occasionally at functions. He loved and enjoyed playing cards, always teaching his kids how to play cards the CORRECT WAY.

Gene was active with the local Coop and MFA organizations, while attending board meetings and activities. Gene served many years on the MFA board. He was a lifelong member of St. Gregory’s Church in which he was an active member of the Knights of Columbus; he was also a member of the Elk’s Lodge and the Eagle’s Lodge.

Gene’s farming career spanned over 64 years.  He passed away April 23, 2006. Gene and Donna’s three sons’ and daughter are still farming most of the ground he started on. Their daughter Diane passed away in 2009. They has 11 grandchildren, 4-great grandchildren, several nieces and nephews, many of whom are very active in the farming community of Nodaway County today. Gene showed lots of leadership by helping, showing, caring, sharing and always being there for his wife, children, grandchildren, extended family and community.  It gives me great pleasure to present

The 2014 Nodaway County Hall of Fame Inductee Award to the Family of Eugene E. Frueh.


2013 Agriculture Hall of Fame Award

Stephen Alexander started farming at the age of 14 with 2 sows to farrow, a venture that expanded from an FFA project which he was a member of for 4 years.  He began doing some custom work with a used Farmall 450 Diesel tractor purchased in 1965. Stephen married and traded the 450 tractor for a new 806 diesel and 6 bottom plow in the spring of 1967 when he rented 270 acres of land that he and his wife would move onto in the late summer of 1967 and begin fall work in preparation for putting in their first crop in the spring of 1968. The farm was located near the southwest corner of Hopkins. A part of this farm was in pasture and Stephen bought into a registered Angus cow herd that was on the farm at the time.

Stephen and his wife, Sandra Sue White, purchased their first farmland, 135 acres in 1969. Stephen raised hogs there utilizing a farrowing house, wooden granary and barn that were on the property and planting the rest of the farm to crops.  Stephen continued in the farrowing to finish hog operation until 1986.

In 1969, Steve joined the North Nodaway Young Farmers. In 1976 he was presented the Outstanding Young Farmer Award at the Farm City Banquet.  He has been on the North Nodaway Board of Education and is one of the present directors of the North Nodaway Education Foundation where he has been secretary for 13 years.   Steve has been a 35 year Member of the Missouri Corn Growers Association. From 1985-1987 he was a Member of MO A LOT Program (Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow) Class II. Since 1983 he has been a member of the Missouri Soybean Association, having held all board offices and lobbied in Washington DC numerous times.  From 1998 to present he has participated in the University of Iowa Cow Indexing on cow calf operation. He was a 35 years participate in the University of Mo MIR Program until they discontinued.  Steve has also served on the Mo Fertilizer Board, Maryville Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee, Bedford Iowa Economic Development Committee and Hopkins Historical Society.

Stephen is still very actively engaged in farming, practicing conservation measure with tile terraces, no till soybeans, building ponds and grid soil sampling. Over the past years Stephen and his wife have expanded their family farming operation with the purchase and renting of farm land to several acres along with a cattle operation.

On a special note Stephen and Sandy are still tenants after 46 years with the original landowners on the first 270 acres southwest of Hopkins, which a remarkable statement in itself and true testament of the pride they have in farming.

 Their son, Stan, is also involved in the family farming operation. They also have 2 daughters, Sonya and Shanna and 4 grandchildren.

 Stephen has dedicated himself to be a good steward of the land and a contributed to  the growth and development  for Nodaway County Agriculture and I’m sure will continue to do for many years yet to come.  It gives me great pleasure to introduce this year Nodaway County Agriculture Hall of Fame Inductee Stephen Alexander.