SUPPORTING FOUNDATION OF ECONOMY, BARRY COUNTY DESIGNATED AN AGRI-READY COUNTY
Barry County, a leader in livestock production and processing in southwest Missouri, has applied for and been granted Agri-Ready County Designation by Missouri Farmers Care (MFC), a coalition of 45 leading Missouri agricultural groups. This designation identifies counties which create an environment conducive to agricultural opportunity and growth which are willing to actively support Missouri’s largest industry.
“Agriculture is the biggest contributor to the economy,” Barry County Presiding Commissioner Cherry Warren said, “and anything we can do to encourage agriculture or people involved in agriculture, we want to encourage that.”
Agriculture is already a force in the Barry County economy. In 2016, the county’s 1,427 farm and ranch families sold over $1.4 billion in agricultural products. Agriculture, forestry and other related industries provided 5,261 local jobs, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry Study. The county’s agricultural strength is anchored in the value of poultry processing, raising broilers and turkeys and beef cattle farming and ranching.
Through the Agri-Ready program, MFC will partner with county leaders to advance local agricultural enterprise, promote the county as a conducive location for business expansion and enhance workforce readiness for agricultural careers. MFC will recruit local 4-H and FFA leaders to implement Agriculture Education on the Move™ in third-grade classrooms. These student leaders will present agricultural careers, crops and livestock production through engaging, hands-on activities and lessons while developing their speaking and leadership skills.
In addition, the collaboration encourages participation in the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s voluntary Agricultural Stewardship Assurance Program, recognizing stewardship at the farm level.
“Barry County is an agricultural powerhouse: with strong, engaged local leadership, over 5,000 agricultural jobs and an impressive $1.4 billion in ag sales. We appreciate the leadership of Barry County, knowing the decision making close to home is in the best interest of Barry County citizens, farmers, and ranchers,” said Ashley McCarty, executive director of MFC. “We are excited about the start of this partnership and look forward to helping support opportunities for Barry County farmers, business, and local students.”
MFC’s Agri-Ready County designation launched in December 2015 as a voluntary connection between Missouri counties and MFC. According to the MDA, Missouri agriculture provides 378,232 jobs and added $88.4 billion in net value to the state’s economy in 2016, making agriculture the largest sector of the economy. The 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.
Barry County joins Atchison, Audrain, Benton, Bollinger, Butler, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dallas, Dent, Gasconade, Laclede, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, McDonald, Moniteau, Montgomery, New Madrid, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Pike, Polk, Saline, Scott, St. Clair, Stoddard, Sullivan, Washington, Wayne, Webster and Wright counties in achieving Agri-Ready Designation.
Counties wishing to apply for Agri-Ready 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 Barry County presented by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.