JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Affirming a commitment to agricultural development, education and economic growth, Howell County has achieved Agri-Ready County Designation. Missouri Farmers Care (MFC), a coalition of more than 40 leading Missouri agricultural groups, designates counties that create an environment conducive to agricultural entrepreneurship and opportunity which actively support Missouri’s largest industry.
“I am very proud that Howell County has chosen to join the many counties in Missouri that are designated as Agri-Ready,” said Janet Crow, South Central Missouri Cattlemen’s Association Vice President. “This decision by the Commission encourages and protects agriculture in our area, positions our county for growth and provides educational opportunities for the youth of Howell County. Agriculture is the vital economic driver for our community, and we must ensure our farms and ranches continue to thrive in a sustainable manner.”
According to the most recent data available, agriculture in Howell County generated more than $1 billion in agricultural product sales, which translates into $250.3 million in value-added to the local economy in 2016. Agriculture, forestry, and other related industries support 4,753 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 forestry products manufacturing and beef cattle.
“We totally support our agriculture producers and are happy for the designation of Howell County as an Agri-Ready County,” said Mark Collins, Howell County Presiding Commissioner.
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.
“Howell County agriculture’s contribution of $1 billion of annual sales makes the county a leader in the state as a significant contributor to Missouri’s $88 billion agriculture industry,” said MFC Executive Director Ashley McCarty. “With its significant impact, agriculture underpins the economy and quality of life of Howell County. Agri-Ready County Designation can serve as an effective tool to build on the county’s strengths and create new opportunities in the region.”
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.
Howell County joins Andrew, Atchison, Audrain, Barry, Benton, Bollinger, Buchanan, 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, Mississippi, Moniteau, Montgomery, Morgan, New Madrid, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Pemiscot, Perry, Pike, Polk, Randolph, Reynolds, Saline, Scott, Shannon, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stoddard, Sullivan, Texas, Vernon, Warren, 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 the 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 Howell County Fact Sheet presented by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau, and Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.
— Missouri Farmers Care
For more news from Missouri, click here.