Gov. Nixon presents agricultural achievement award to Charlie Schlottach of White Mule Winery

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OWENSVILLE, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon was in Gasconade County to recognize Charlie Schlottach and White Mule Winery with the Governor's Award for Agricultural Achievement, which honors outstanding farmers, growers and processors for their work with agricultural commodities and their communities.

"Agriculture has always been, and will always be, the heart of Missouri's economy, and agri-tourism businesses like White Mule Winery are a big part of the reason why," Gov. Nixon said. "Missouri farmers create jobs, support their communities and grow our economy. The farmers, ranchers and producers of Missouri are moving our state forward through innovation and are creating new opportunities for our future.

"The economic future of Missouri is getting brighter every day," the Governor said. "The jobs report for September showed our unemployment rate has reached the lowest level since December 2008. Coupled with our exports setting an all-time record last year, it's clear we are moving Missouri in the right direction."

During his visit, Gov. Nixon and Missouri's Director of Agriculture, Dr. Jon Hagler, toured the White Mule Winery and presented Schlottach with a certificate recognizing his support of Missouri agriculture and his contributions to Missouri's agri-tourism industry. The Schlottach family has been in Gasconade County for more than 100 years, and worked in the wine industry before establishing the winery in 2011. The winery produces grapes and has expanded its facility along Highway 50. Schlottach served in the Missouri House of Representatives from 2003 to 2011 and previously was presiding commissioner in Gasconade County.

"Missouri farmers, like Charlie Schlottach and the team at White Mule Winery, are among the most innovative producers in the world, and we are proud to recognize their outstanding contributions to our state," Director Hagler said. "Under Gov. Nixon's leadership, Missouri's farm families and our state's agriculture industry will continue to thrive and be a leader throughout the U.S."

Last week, the Missouri Department of Economic Development released the September jobs report, showing that Missouri's unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent - its lowest rate since December 2008. The state's unemployment rate has remained below the national rate for 37 consecutive months. Missouri added 2,500 jobs during September, bringing the year to-date total of new jobs to 24,700. Combined, the number of new jobs for 2012 to-date and all of 2011 comes to more than 46,000.

To learn more about the Governor's Award for Agricultural Achievement and Missouri's agricultural economy, please visit MO.gov.