The year was 1889 and the Railroad and Warehouse Commission in the State of Missouri authorized a grain inspection program. Twenty-six years before the United States Grain Standards Act came in to existence; wheat, corn, barley, and rye were being inspected at Kansas City, Saint Louis, and Saint Joseph, Missouri. The Chief of Inspection also began publishing annual reports regarding the program. Only railcars and sacks were inspected in the early years.
In 1929 the State Grain and Warehouse Department was established. While this was the first State venture into grain inspection it was a separate organization outside the State’s Department of Agriculture. In fact, it was not until 1933 that the State established its Department of Agriculture. In 1955 the grain program was finally placed under the Department of Agriculture. By 1963 the program was able to return $180,000 to the State’s general fund. During the 60s the State employed as many as 136 full-time grain inspection employees, including chemists who were needed to perform protein analysis by the chemical intensive kjeldahl method.
Today the State of Missouri operates three field offices in Saint Joseph, Marshall, and New Madrid and 15 onsite laboratories with a much smaller staff. Thirty full time and 50 part time dedicated employees provide official grain inspection services throughout the state. The products and carriers inspected have also changed since the early years. While wheat corn, soybeans and sorghum are the major grains inspected, the State also inspects rice in the Bootheel area and edible beans, peas, lentils, DDGS and soybean meal in the Kansas City area. Carriers now include railcars, barges, trucks, containers, sacks and totes.
While the number of employees and the diversity of the services provided have changed over the years, the dedication to service by the employees and leaders of the Missouri Grain inspection program has never wavered.
Jimmy Williams, Program Administer, says that he and the entire staff are proud to be part of an industry that allows grain from Missouri farmers to move efficiently from the field to food processors and dinner tables around the world. “It is always amazing to sit back and see how efficient the grain marketing system is and realize what an important part official inspection plays in this process.”
While Jimmy has only been with the grain inspection program for 5 years, he has been an Agriculture Department employee for 23 years. Jimmy believes the program’s success is due to the committed workforce, the integration of technology, and the leadership of his mentor Larry Kitchen. He is also grateful that the National Grain Center is in Missouri which provides easy access to this valuable resource.
With additional facilities being built in the State Jimmy sees a bright future for the State’s grain program and the State plans to continue its long history of proudly serving Missouri grain producers, handlers and marketers.
For more information on GIS, visit their website by clicking here.