Bob Vandiver Cattle Company, Richmond, Mo., received high honors in front of hundreds of Missouri producers and agribusiness leaders during the 45th Missouri Governor's Conference on Agriculture, hosted by Gov. Jay Nixon and the Missouri Department of Agriculture. 

During the awards banquet Saturday evening, Missouri’s Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce recognized the company with the Missouri Farm Innovation award.

“Missouri producers are an incredible group of people who are always developing innovative ways to better the industry,” said Director Fordyce. “In this day and age, if you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind. We are blessed to have men and women who will take chances to advance agriculture.”

The makings of the Bob Vandiver Cattle Company started when Bob Vandiver purchased a bicycle and two heifer calves. Today, the second and third generations of the Vandiver family have taken the helm and farm 5,700 acres, own and operate two grain elevators and feed between 3,000 and 5,000 head of cattle.

The Bob Vandiver Cattle Company helped lead the charge in the development of Missouri’s first anaerobic digester. Both Bob and his son, Dale, were on the board of directors at Hampton Feed Lot when the idea of an anaerobic digester was introduced. Now fully operational, the digester collects the manure from approximately 2,500 head of cattle and pumps it into one of six large, above-ground tanks. The manure is then heated to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit in order to accelerate the digesting process for waste decomposition. This process produces methane gas, which is captured, cleaned and burned in a specially modified diesel generator and produces up to 14,400 kilowatt hours of electricity.

Missouri’s Farm Innovation Award recipient was recognized alongside Legacy Awards in Beef, Soybean, Corn, Pork, Poultry, Forestry, Dairy, Rice and Cotton, the Missouri Environmental Stewardship Award, the Missouri Farm Broadcaster of the Year Award, Missouri Ag Education Leader Award and the Missouri Food Animal Veterinarian Award at the 2014 Missouri’ Governor’s Conference on Agriculture closing banquet.

The conference, which took place at the Lake of the Ozarks, concluded Saturday evening with a special performance by country music band Sawyer Brown. The three-day event included nationally-recognized speakers, in-depth discussions about current issues and an agriculture tradeshow. Special events during the conference included the Taste of AgriMissouri reception and the Friday evening benefit auction supporting programs for youth and young professionals in agriculture.

For more information on the Governor’s Conference on Agriculture and the Missouri Department of Agriculture, visit the Department online at http://agriculture.mo.gov.