Government & Politics

Gov.-elect Eric Greitens picks Chris Chinn to lead Missouri agriculture department

Chris Chinn was picked Tuesday by Gov.-elect Eric Greitens to be the next director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
Chris Chinn was picked Tuesday by Gov.-elect Eric Greitens to be the next director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Gov.-elect Eric Greitens has named a hog farmer from northeast Missouri to lead the state department of agriculture.

Greitens, a Republican who will take office Jan. 9, announced his selection of Chris Chinn on his Facebook page Tuesday afternoon. Chinn, of Clarence, will need to be confirmed by the Missouri Senate.

“It’s tough enough to run a successful farm, which the Chinns do, but Chris is also a leading agriculture advocate,” Greitens said in his Facebook post. “She has become a voice for Missouri farmers, and she has repeatedly stood up to critics and activists. She writes and speaks around the state and country about what a farm can do when it is run with care.”

Greitens said the message he got from farmers during the campaign was to get “the lawyers, activists, and federal government off our backs.” Chinn will work every day, he said, “to uphold the proud tradition of Missouri farming.”

Chinn will replace Richard Fordyce, who was appointed to the job in 2013 by outgoing Gov. Jay Nixon. Popular among the agriculture community, Fordyce had hoped to stay on as director under Greitens. Before joining the department of agriculture, Fordyce was chairman of the Missouri State Soil and Water Districts Commission and served on advisory groups to Republican U.S. Rep. Sam Graves and U.S. Sens. Kit Bond and Jim Talent.

But Fordyce endorsed Greitens’ opponent in the gubernatorial election, Democrat Chris Koster, and campaigned with him across rural Missouri.

In addition to losing Fordyce’s endorsement, Greitens was also the first Republican running for a statewide office to lose the Missouri Farm Bureau endorsement to a Democrat.

In a video posted with the announcement, Chinn says she got involved in farming when she married her husband.

“He came from a family farm, and that’s where we decided we wanted to live,” she said.

According to Greitens’ Facebook post, Chinn was selected in 2013 by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance as one of their Faces of Farming & Ranching, an honor given to just four farmers in the country. She has given hundreds of speeches around the country defending farm families and “sharing the values that make farming such a vital profession.”

Related stories from Kansas City Star