Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has appointed Jon Hagler of St. James to the position of Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. His appointment now awaits Missouri Senate confirmation.
Hagler, a lifelong equestrian, continues to operate a small farm near St. James, where he raises, trains and sells Missouri Fox Trotters, the Missouri state horse. Over the past three years, Hagler served as Gov. Nixon's principal adviser and liaison on agriculture issues and was instrumental in drafting the Governor's agricultural and environmental policies.
"Missouri farmers are a vital part of our state's economy and a vibrant part of our way of life," Nixon says. "To help Missouri's agriculture community grow and prosper, we need a director who understands the challenges and opportunities farmers face and who knows how to develop policies to help them succeed. Jon Hagler offers a unique combination of agriculture, policy and legislative expertise, and he is the right person to lead the department in my administration. Over the past three years, Jon has helped me develop a strong set of agriculture policies and priorities, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with him in the years to come."
Hagler believes Missouri agriculture is at a crossroads. "We have a real opportunity to help all our farmers and producers expand their operations and open new markets," he says. "Missouri farmers are among the most innovative and productive in the world, and I look forward to working with folks in every corner of the state to move agriculture forward."
Hagler, 41, was raised on a horse farm in Dent County and has maintained his own operation, Cheyenne Farms, since 1997. Since 2005, Hagler has met with farmers in every corner of the state on Gov.-elect Nixon's behalf to learn about their operations, assess their needs, and develop the Governor-elect's agriculture policy.
Prior to becoming Gov. Nixon's agricultural adviser on the campaign, Hagler served as the senior corporate development officer for the University of Missouri-Rolla (now, Missouri University of Science & Technology). From 2001 to 2003, Hagler was executive director of governmental and external affairs at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. His tenure at Cal Poly followed several years of service on the staff of the Missouri State House of Representatives. From 2000 to 2001, Hagler was chief of staff to the House Speaker, overseeing a staff of more than 300 House employees and helping define and advance the Speaker's legislative agenda.
A summa cum laude graduate of Truman State University in Kirksville, Hagler holds a master's degree in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a doctorate in the same subject from Washington University in St. Louis.
The Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture determines department policy and serves as a liaison to state legislators, the agriculture community and the public. In addition to the divisions of Business Development, Animal Health, Grain Inspection and Warehousing, Plant Industries and Weights and Measures, the Department of Agriculture also includes the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority, the Missouri State Fair Board, the State Milk Board and the Missouri Wine and Grape Board.