Audrain, Carroll Counties Lead the Way with Agri-Ready Designation
[Mexico, MO]–Audrain and Carroll have become the first counties in Missouri to receive Agri-Ready designation from Missouri Farmers Care. The Agri-Ready certification announced today at the Audrain Agribusiness luncheon in Mexico, Mo., will encourage growth and development of local agricultural enterprises.
Established in 2015, the Agri-Ready program was developed by Missouri Famers Care to recognize counties that support the growth of agriculture and corresponding industries. The Agri-Ready designation showcases a countywide commitment to expanding current farming operations and industry entities to encourage long-term growth for local economies.
“The county commissions’ pursuit of Agri-Ready designation indicates their desire to strengthen family farms, jobs and stronger tax base in their communities,” says Alan Wessler, DVM, chairman of Missouri Farmers Care. “The Agri-Ready status is another avenue to support family farmers who make up 95 percent of Missouri’s farm community. In supporting the number one economic engine in Missouri, the Agri-Ready designation recognizes the role that all farms, ranches and agribusinesses play in Missouri’s economic health, but in particular our strong family farmer contingent.”
Audrain County is a top producer of Missouri soybeans, second leading producer of corn and top 10 producer of wheat. The county has 1,015 farms, creating $151 million in agricultural products sold according to the 2012 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) census.
“Audrain County has a proud history as an agricultural hub,” says Steve Hobbs, presiding commissioner of Audrain County. “As the Biofuel Capital of Missouri, home of the Missouri Plant Science Center, Poet Biorefining, ADM Biofuel, LLC and Enginuity Worldwide, we are poised to continue being a leader in the state for new ways for agriculture to remain strong. We hope this designation will help us retain and recruit employers and entrepreneurs to our region.”
Carroll County is a leader in corn and soybean production, ranking sixth and seventh in the state, respectively. The most recent USDA census data indicates farming in Carroll County generated $130 million in agricultural products and is home to more than 1,100 farms and numerous agricultural processors. A Carroll County resident, Rep. Joe Don McGaugh of Carrollton, originated the Agri-Ready County concept during the 2015 state legislative session.
“Carroll County is proud that it is one of the first counties in Missouri to receive the Agri-Ready designation,” says Nelson Heil, Carroll County presiding commissioner. “We believe agriculture is vital to our local economy and farmers must be allowed to operate in an efficient and business-like manner.”
Agri-Ready designation indicates Carroll and Audrain counties are committed to protecting agricultural interests and will follow state laws and regulations to encourage agricultural operations in local communities. Missouri Farmers Care and its 36 member organizations will be working closely with county leadership, farmers and agribusinesses in designated counties to advance local agricultural enterprises.
Counties wishing to apply for the Agri-Ready designation must meet all program requirements, including no ordinances regulating agriculture more stringent than state law and willingness to support agricultural stewardship, growth and opportunities. A Missouri Farmers Care committee will review local ordinances, regulations and supportive industry statements prior to awarding a county the Agri-Ready status.
Additional Agri-Ready details are available on the Missouri Farmers Care website at www.mofarmerscare.com.