Our Web Exclusive video, part II serves as your personal farm tour of Shryock Brothers Inc., where Joe Shryock is a managing partner. Proud to be a fourth-generation farmer, Joe Shryock has worked hard and added innovative ideas to keep the family farm tradition going. The Shryock family has been farming in Callaway County since 1889. Joe and his brother, Dennis, are proudest of the fact that their sons --the fifth generation – are now working alongside them.
Joe has made a few changes and improvements to keep up with changing economic and social climate in the 21st century. Grain crops are the main farm enterprise, with a rotation of corn, soybeans, and wheat grown on their fertile prairie fields. Volatile markets and rising input costs in recent years have been challenging, but increasing crop acreage and on-farm storage, contracting corn with an ethanol plant, and utilization of risk management tools have helped increase net income.
After his son, Brett, joined as a partner 10 years ago, Joe decided to expand the farm business. In 2002, the family added an agritourism enterprise. They create an artistic maze in a corn field and invite visitors to the farm in the fall to explore the corn maze and participate in fun activities while learning about agriculture. Joe's nephew now manages the corn maze enterprise, with help from Joe's wife, Debbie, and sister-in-law.
Other enterprises Joe has added to boost cash flow and opportunities for growth include an irrigation equipment dealership and a bio solids fertilizer application business.
With Shryock farms located just a few miles east of the bustling university town of Columbia and in the public eye as an agritourism stop, Joe maintains high standards of environmental stewardship. Soil and water conservation are top priorities and he has been recognized for his efforts by the state USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The Missouri Master Farmer Award program recognizes individuals with innovative ideas, business skills, sound conservation practices, agricultural leadership and community service. The program was revived by Missouri Ruralist and University of Missouri Extension in 2008, after being dormant for 50 years. See the Master Farmer link on this website for more information on nominating a deserving farmer for the next class of Missouri Master Farmers.