Mr. McKaskle started farming in 1973 as a fifth generation farmer, and has over 25 years of organic industry experience. He is a pioneer in organic farm management, having worked with the USDA, the University of Missouri’s Bradford Research Center, and the Allison Organic Research & Demonstration Farm at Western Illinois University to develop organic weed control and cultivation techniques. Mr. McKaskle began farming organic cotton in 1993, and collaborated on the Sustainable Cotton Project, dedicated to the production and promotion of sustainably grown domestic cotton fiber. Steve was instrumental in convincing the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, to switch to 100% organic cotton for their products, and subsequently visited several Patagonia stores to speak about organic farming practices. After an F4 tornado destroyed the family cotton gins, equipment and farmstead in 2006, Mr. McKaskle began to produce organic rice and has become the largest domestic producer of organic aromatic and long grain rice. Mr. McKaskle has sourcing and distribution relationships with notable companies such as Chipotle, Whole Foods, United Natural Foods, KeHE, and Hiland Naturals. He has also worked with these companies to develop a transitional rice program that offers a price premium to farmers in the transitional stages of organic production. McKaskle Family Farms, LLC currently operates over 3,000 acres of land and cultivates and processes a variety of organic crops including: popcorn, Basmati, jasmine and long grain rice varieties, soybeans, corn, and wheat.