JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Affirming a commitment to agricultural development, education and economic growth, Macon 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.
“Macon County Commission is excited to be Agri-Ready,” said Macon County Presiding Commissioner Alan Wyatt. “The designation will allow agriculture to be free to grow and allow economic development opportunities in the agricultural fields.”
According to the most recent data available, agriculture in Macon County generated more than $340 million in agricultural product sales, which translates into $101.8 million in value-added to the local economy in 2016. Agriculture, forestry, and other related industries support 2,114 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 soybean production, meat processing and beef cattle.
“We are excited to see what being Agri-Ready brings to Macon County,” said James Wilson, Macon County Farm Bureau president and local farmer. “Agriculture is the backbone of Macon County and this will open many doors in the agriculture industry. Additional opportunity will also allow our youth to hopefully return to the farm and expand livestock production.”
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.
“Macon County is built on fertile soil and strong local leadership with agriculture underpinning the economy and quality of life of Macon County,” said MFC Executive Director Ashley McCarty. “Macon County farmers and ranchers have supported the County Commission’s leadership to ensure the environment in Macon County is open to agricultural opportunity. 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.
Macon 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, Howell, 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 MFC awarding designation.
For more information, view the 2016 Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry in Macon 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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