Harry Bozoian has been named as acting director of the Department of Agriculture by Gov. Jay Nixon. Nixon’s office reports Hagler will remain with the Department through Oct. 31 to assist with the transition. Bozoian will take over as acting director immediately.

“Jon has been a trusted friend and advisor for many years and I appreciate his unwavering commitment to the people of Missouri, especially our farm families and rural communities throughout the state,” Gov. Nixon said in a press release. “During his tenure, Jon helped make the Missouri Department of Agriculture more efficient and effective, and played a vital role helping the agricultural community respond and recover from last year’s unprecedented drought. His service to the state is deeply appreciated and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Bozoian operates and manages a 450-acre row crop and hay farm In Monroe County. He also owns and manages an 80 acre farm in Chariton County. During the 2011 flood, Nixon appointed Bozoian to assist farmers and levee districts in the rehabilitation of their farms and levees, for which he received the Outstanding Service and Assistance Award from the Missouri Levee and Drainage District Association.

In 2012, Nixon appointed Bozoian to lead the Drought Assistance Program through the Soil and Water Conservation Program, which provided vital relief to Missouri’s livestock and crop production industry. From 1993 to 2008, Bozoian was an Assistant Attorney General in the Agriculture and Environment Division for then-Attorney General Nixon, during which he promoted and protected Missouri’s agricultural interests.

“Harry’s leadership and experience, along with his thorough understanding of the issues facing rural Missouri, will ensure that the Missouri Department of Agriculture continues to provide excellent service to the farm families which are the bedrock of our economy,” Nixon said.

The Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture determines department policy and serves as a liaison to state legislators, the agriculture community and the public. In addition to the divisions of Business Development, Animal Health, Grain Inspection and Warehousing, Plant Industries and Weights and Measures, the Department of Agriculture also includes the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority, the Missouri State Fair Board, the State Milk Board and the Missouri Wine and Grape Board. The Director is appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the State Senate.