Gala upsets the apple cart

The Red Delicious will lose its reign as the most popular apple grown in the U.S. this year after more than half a century at No. 1.

The U.S. Apple Association, which advocates on behalf of 7,500 apple growers and 400 companies in the apple business, is projecting that the Gala apple will take over the top spot, as consumers prefer its “taste, texture and sweetness.” Gala already is the most popular variety sold in the U.S., followed by Red Delicious, according to the association.

In response to shifting preference, the U.S. will grow some 52 million bushels of Gala apples in 2018, up 5.9 percent from a year earlier. Gala originated in New Zealand in the 1930s.

Red Delicious production, meanwhile, is expected to tumble 10.7 percent to around 51 million bushels in 2018, the trade group predicts. Red Delicious will still account for about half of U.S. apple exports.

The Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp apples are expected to rank third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in U.S. production.

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MFA Project Premium Program is a win-win for livestock exhibitors

Show season may be winding down for many 4-H and FFA members, but that means it’s time to start new livestock projects. As you make plans for next year’s events, keep MFA’s Project Premium Program in mind. Special incentives are available for using MFA feeds with your show animals. Bring home a win in the show ring, and you’ll win again with financial rewards from MFA’s Feed Division and your local MFA feed supplier.

This year’s project premiums are $50 for a steer, beef heifer or dairy heifer and $20 for a market hog, market lamb, goat or bucket calf. To participate, animals must be fed a qualifying MFA feed product from weigh-in, and it must be fed at recommended amounts throughout the project. The animal’s initial weight, ending weight and other information must be verified by the group leader and submitted to your local MFA feed supplier.

For project animals that place at the top of county rate-of-gain contests or state or national carcass-evaluation contests, there are additional financial rewards of up to $1,000. There is one project premium and one contest cash prize allowed per

MFA takes pride in rewarding our youth who work hard and achieve success. Those interested in the 4-H/FFA Livestock Project Premium Program must visit their local MFA to complete the enrollment and results forms. For more information on the program and qualifying feed products, visit

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Farmers lead the way in fighting food insecurity

Missouri agriculture made it a mission this summer to combat food insecurity through the Missouri Farmers Care (MFC) Drive to Feed Kids campaign. In its second year, this collaborative partnership raised resources to supply nearly 1.8 million meals for hungry children across the state.

“This event raises awareness of food insecurity faced by Missouri school kids, especially in rural areas,” said Dr. Alan Wessler, Missouri Farmers Care chairman and MFA Incorporated vice president of feed operations and animal health. “It also speaks to the heart of Missouri’s agricultural community, showcasing the tremendous work of farmers and ranchers who provide food for the world.”

Feeding Missouri, the association of the state’s six regional food banks, estimates that food insecurity affects one in five Missouri children. This number increases to one in three young people in rural areas.

On Aug. 14, MFC partnered with the Missouri FFA Association for Food Insecurity Service Day at the Missouri State Fair. More than 650 FFA members and agricultural leaders packed 100,800 meals to feed families of up to six people. The meals were distributed to Missouri’s regional food banks.

“Food Insecurity Day served as a chance for Missouri FFA members to experience service in action,” said Paxton Dahmer, Missouri FFA president. “It was wonderful to see so many members excited about helping those in need. They left energized and ready to take their own service to the next level, truly living out the fourth line of our FFA Motto ‘Living to Serve.’”

Gov. Mike Parsons and First Lady Teresa Parsons, along with Missouri’s elected officials and agricultural leaders, joined the cause on Thursday, Aug. 16, at the fair. Together they packed nearly 2,000 backpack meals that provided weekend nourishment for students in Pettis, Benton and Cooper counties during the first month of school.

The Drive to Feed Kids campaign culminated Aug. 18 with a check presentation of $145,165 to Feeding Missouri.

Fairgoers also participated in the MFC Food Drive Day by bringing non-perishable food donations. In the fair’s Can Creation Contest, teams used canned food items donated by Woods Supermarket. Through these activities, a total of 18,932 pounds of non-perishable food was donated to local pantries. In addition, Missouri FFA donated fresh produce from FFA student projects on display at the fair.

“As people become more aware of the hunger problem in Missouri, they’re stepping up to do something about it, and our farmers are leading the way,” said Scott Baker, state director of Feeding Missouri. “The impact from this partnership will be felt by many of our neighbors in need.”

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