Gov. Mike Parson “came home” to the Missouri State Fair, an annual tradition that began decades ago when Parson was just a kid.

“We would come to the state fair, we'd pack a dinner and we'd actually eat out in the parking lot,” Parson recalled, adding that he has amazing memories of visiting the fair with his mom and dad, aunts and uncles.

“And I've been so blessed” to visit the fair as governor," Parson noted. “The farmers back then and the farmers now hasn't changed very much. “They're good, hard-working people, they are the backbone of the state of Missouri.”

Parson was the featured speaker at the 2019 Governor's Ham Breakfast, held at the director's tent on Thursday morning at the 117th Missouri State Fair. The event attracted about 1,000 people.

“That early experience of growing up on a farm ignited enthusiasm I've always had for Missouri agriculture. Theresa and I pass this along to our to our children and grandchildren and we hope to continue our family tradition as state fair attendees for generations to come,” Parson said.

“As a third generation farmer who owns a cattle operation, it's important to me to protect our state's number one industry. We need to do everything we can to sustain agriculture in Missouri and make sure it stays strong for future generations,” Parson stated.

An auction was led by auctioneer Dick Hutchison, selling the Grand Champion Ham and Champion Commercial Ham (and reserves), and Grand Champion Strip of Bacon.

Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn served as emcee for the event.

State 4-H Council President Heather Snow led the thousand people attending the ha, breakfast in the Pledge of Allegiance, while State FFA President Brenden Kleinboeker gave the invocation.

Funds raised at the Breakfast totaled $22,700 and will be used to support the Missouri State Fair Foundation for projects, with Youth in Agriculture scholarships and fairgrounds improvements.

The event was sponsored by the Missouri State Fair Foundation.