“The time to shoot the bear is when the bear is there”
W.J. “Bill” Cook has been involved in agriculture for more than 50 years. Known by many as the patriarch of the new generation business in Missouri when it comes to identity-preserved grains, Cook brings a passion to all of his agricultural and rural endeavors, and he takes a systems approach to get the job done.
Cook is a life-long family farmer and rural entrepreneur. He has dedicated his life to his family, his farm and improving the lives of his fellow rural Missourians. One of the most successful seed producers and processors in Missouri’s history, Cook founded NeCo Seed Farms, Inc. which he and his wife, Emily, ran for more than 30 years before passing it onto the next generation. He has also served as the CEO of Missouri Food and Fiber, a new-generation cooperative that internationally markets identity-preserved agricultural products, and manager of a 2,600-acre commercial seed farm. Earlier in his career, Cook owned and operated a feed and chemical retail store; owned an implement dealership; managed an irrigation, bin and equipment company; and led a corn and soybean marketing company.
Throughout his career, Cook has been involved in professional and community organizations. His professional organization affiliations include the Missouri Soybean Association and the International Business Club. He has provided leadership to the Missouri Seedsmen’s Association, ALOT Alumni Organization, Missouri Premium Varieties and Missouri Foundation Seeds. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Mid-America Organic Association since 2017. Regarding his community involvement, Cook has a served as a board member for the Hope Haven Home for Battered Women, Cass Medical Center Foundation, Harrisonville Christian School, Garden City Bank, Production Credit Association and Midwest Family Farms. From 2009 to 2011, he was a county commissioner in Cass County, Missouri. Because of Cook’s contributions to agriculture, he was recognized as a Missouri Master Farmer in 2010, and his family received the Missouri Farm Family honor in 2002.