The Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce plans to recognize the importance of agriculture to the Neosho area at an appreciation banquet scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 8.
The Agriculture Appreciation Banquet, which was formerly an annual event for the chamber, has not been held since 2007, according to Shana Griffin, executive director of the Neosho chamber.
Eric Norris, co-chairman of the chamber's agriculture committee, said both the event and the agriculture committee had been inactive for a few years, before he and other members began working to resurrect it this year.
He said the banquet, designed to include Newton and McDonald counties, is free of charge and open to anyone involved in agriculture, from farmers to forestry and florists.
"Agriculture is Missouri's number one industry," Norris said. "That's overlooked and sometimes hard to believe."
He said it was also important to organizers to include agricultural workers from McDonald County towns such as Anderson and Goodman.
"Those people who are farming and operating down there are helping the Neosho economy," Norris said.
The night will kick off at 5 p.m. in the Neosho High School cafeteria, with social time and exhibitor booths.
Norris said there will be educational and commercial booths on display. The educational booths will include non-profit groups such as the Missouri Extension Office, the Beef Council, and the Dairyman's Association.
There will also be live bluegrass music presented by local musician Nathan McAlister.
Following the social hour, a free dinner will be served by the Crowder College Agriculture Department.
"It's just an opportunity to appreciate them and say 'thank you,'" Norris said.
Norris said the event would also include the recognition of several area farm families.
State Rep. Bill Reiboldt will honor the local century farms, the family farms that have been identified at the state level for having been in operation for at least 100 years.
Reiboldt will also honor the two local farm families of the year, one from Newton County and one from McDonald County, who were selected by the Missouri Extension Office.
Norris said the banquet will be a family-friendly event, geared toward appreciating and updating the agricultural community.
Serving as keynote speaker for the evening will be Garret Hawkins, National Legislative Programs Director for Missouri Farm Bureau.
"He will be speaking about state and federal issues that are affecting agriculture," Norris said. "It's not politically based, but a legislative update."
Norris said the committee hopes to make the banquet an annual event once again.
"This is our first step toward bringing back the committee," Norris said.
The banquet is being sponsored by Moark, First Community Bank and the Missouri Beef Council.
While the event is free of charge, those planning to attend are urged to register beforehand.
Page 2 of 2 - To register, or to learn more about the banquet, please contact the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce at 451-1925 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.