Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens has chosen a northeast Missouri woman to be the next director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
Greitens announced on his Facebook page Tuesday that he had selected Chris Chinn, 41, to lead the department. She and her husband, Kevin, are fifth-generation farmers who raise hogs, cattle and crops near Clarence in Shelby County.
The governor-elect called Chinn an "outsider" and a leading advocate for agriculture and family farms. In 2013, she was named by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance as one of its Faces of Farming & Ranching.
Greitens, who will be sworn in on Jan. 9, said Chinn will help him fight lawyers, activists and the federal government, who he says are using unnecessary regulations, reckless lawsuits and political threats against family farmers.
Chinn was a vocal supporter of a state "right to farm" constitutional amendment narrowly approved by voters in 2014. Proponents touted it as a pre-emptive measure against potential attempts to limit the way farmers raise hogs, poultry and cattle or to restrict the use of genetically modified crops.
The amendment passed by a margin of less than one-quarter of a percentage point out of nearly 1 million votes cast, and the Missouri Supreme Court last year upheld it.
A message left Tuesday by The Associated Press on Chinn's home telephone was not immediately returned.
Missouri Cattlemen's Association President Keith Stevens commended the selection of Chinn to oversee the state's agriculture, calling her "an unwavering advocate and spokesperson for this industry."
"Chris has been instrumental in educating consumers about how farmers and ranchers care for their animals, land and resources," Stevens said in a statement.