JEFFERSON CITY — Taking action to express support for agricultural development, education, and economic growth, Buchanan County has applied for and been granted the Agri-Ready County Designation by Missouri Farmers Care (MFC), a coalition of more than 40 leading Missouri agricultural groups. This designation identifies counties that create an environment conducive to agricultural entrepreneurship and opportunity which actively support Missouri’s largest industry.
“Buchanan County is a leader in agricultural sales in Missouri. From stockyards, grain elevators, an ethanol plant and more, the county is diverse in opportunities,” said Vernon Hart, Buchanan County Farm Bureau board member. “Located at the crossroads of 29 and 36, it is a prime place for agriculture. We are excited to be Agri-Ready and open for agribusiness.”
According to the most recent data available, agriculture in Buchanan County generated $5.5 billion in agricultural product sales, which translates into $1.2 billion in value-added to the local economy in 2016. Agriculture, forestry, and other related industries support 10,873 local jobs, according to the 2016 Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry Study. The county’s agricultural strength is anchored in the production of soybeans, corn and beef cattle. Value is added to agricultural products through animal processing, agricultural chemical manufacturing, biofuels and pet food manufacturing.
“We’re delighted,” said Eastern District Commissioner Scott Burnham of the designation. “A lot of people appreciate that economic development in Buchanan County depends largely on agriculture and we want the industry to remain at the forefront.”
Through the Agri-Ready program, MFC partners with county leaders to advance local agricultural enterprise, promote the county as a prime location for business expansion and enhance workforce readiness for agricultural careers. In addition, MFC recruits local 4-H and FFA leaders to implement Agriculture Education on the Move™ in third grade classrooms. These student leaders will present agricultural careers, crop science, and livestock production segments through engaging, hands-on activities and lessons while developing their speaking and leadership skills.
“Buchanan County possesses many agricultural assets – engaged agricultural leaders, productive farms and ranches and strong employment in processing and value-added agriculture,” says MFC Executive Director Ashley McCarty. “Buchanan County’s $5.5 billion in agricultural sales places it second in the state only to St. Louis County and fifth in terms of employment in agriculture, forestry and related industries. This designation can be used as a catalyst for leaders to pull together, tap existing strengths and develop new opportunities.”
MFC’s Agri-Ready County Designation launched in December 2015 as a voluntary connection between Missouri counties and the Missouri Farmers Care organization. Agri-Ready County Designation recognizes and builds on the impact of family farmers and agri-businesses as key contributors to our economy and the quality of life in our communities.
Buchanan County joins Andrew, Atchison, Audrain, Barry, Benton, Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carrol, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dallas, Dent, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Gentry, Henry, Holt, Iron, Johnson, Laclede, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lincoln, Madison, Marion, McDonald, Mercer, Miller, Moniteau, Montgomery, Morgan, New Madrid, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Pike, Polk, Randolph, Reynolds, Saline, Scott, Shannon, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stoddard, Sullivan, Texas, Vernon, Washington, Wayne, Webster, and Wright counties in achieving Agri-Ready Designation.
Counties wishing to apply for Agri-Ready County Designation must meet program requirements, including no ordinances regulating agriculture more stringent than state law and support of agricultural stewardship, growth, and opportunities. After application is received from the county commission, the MFC Agri-Ready Review Committee examines any local ordinances, regulations and statements of support prior to awarding designation.
For more information, view the 2016 Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry in Buchanan County Fact Sheet presented by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau, and Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.
— Missouri Farmers Care
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