Matt McClelland has been named a recipient of the 2022 Alumni Merit Award from Southeast Missouri State University. Alumni Merit Awards have been presented annually since 1958 to Southeast alumni who have brought distinction to themselves and the University. 


McClelland began his collegiate journey with Southeast in 1991, while at the same time, working at Prairie Farms. In 1995, he graduated from Southeast with a bachelor’s degree in agri-business, but his work with Prairie Farms continued.   

In 2009, McClelland was awarded the opportunity to join the Prairie Farms corporate staff as the director of operations where he had a number of responsibilities.  

“I supported multiple operations within the Prairie Farms network, as well as managed Prairie Farms’ relationships with various national account customers,” said McClelland.  

McClelland remained with Prairie Farms in that capacity until January 2020, when he was again promoted. 

“In 2020 I became the senior vice president of sales,” said McClelland, “where I was responsible for overseeing the sales, distribution, and logistics of Prairie Farms. On January 1, 2022, I became the chief executive officer and executive vice president for Prairie Farms,” said McClelland.  

With this promotion he became only the fifth CEO and vice president of Prairie Farms in its 83 year history, a position he doesn’t take lightly.  

“My vision for the future includes the enduring legacies and fundamental beliefs in the cooperative system,” said McClelland, “and to simply do right for Prairie Farms members, associates, and customers while also emphasizing the need to adapt to the ever-changing needs of future consumers, innovations and technologies.” 

McClelland was honored at the University’s annual Copper Dome Society and Merit Award Dinner on October 28 during Homecoming weekend. The Copper Dome Society recognizes donors to the University of $250 or more annually. It is their continued support that enables students to receive scholarships, the best in classroom technology and the experiences outside the classroom that are so important in today's society.