Missouri Farmers Care Grants Bollinger County Agri-Ready County Designation
Bollinger County, a leader in agricultural services, production, and manufacturing in southeast Missouri, has applied for and achieved Agri-Ready County Designation by Missouri Farmers Care (MFC), a coalition of 45 leading Missouri agricultural groups. This designation identifies counties that create an environment conducive to agricultural opportunity and growth which are willing to actively support Missouri’s largest industry.
“We welcome the opportunity to provide all interested people in Bollinger County with information regarding the many aspects of agriculture activities,” stated the Bollinger County Commission. “Being able to offer any assistance regarding an industry such as farming is a welcome addition to the growth of Bollinger County. Farming operations large or small only add to the economic wealth of our county.”
Agriculture is already a driver of the Bollinger County economy. In 2016, the county’s 788 farm and ranch families and agribusinesses sold over $138.7 million in agricultural products, translating into $48 million in added value to the local economy. Agriculture, forestry and other related industries support 1,221 local jobs, according to the recently released Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry Study. The county’s agricultural strength is anchored in the value of beef cattle production, oilseed production, animal feed manufacturing and commercial logging.
“Bollinger County is very agriculturally diverse,” said Mike Kasten, Bollinger County cattle producer. “We have high-quality crop ground, timber lands, and livestock operations. The Missouri Farmers Care program brings a great variety of expertise and resources to the table. Being part of the program lets Bollinger County tap into those resources to help with existing agricultural businesses or new ones wanting to make Bollinger County their home. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy in Bollinger County; making it stronger and better benefits everyone.”
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 and crop 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.
“We welcome Bollinger County as Missouri’s newest Agri-Ready Designated County,” said Ashley McCarty, executive director of MFC. “This collaboration among county leaders, farmers, ranchers and Missouri Farmers Care should encourage agricultural growth and entrepreneurship. Agriculture Education on the Move™ will connect students to the agriculture around them, how it relates to products they enjoy every day, and future career opportunities. We are excited to see the benefits of the partnership grow for Bollinger County.”
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.
Bollinger County joins Atchison, Audrain, Barry, Benton, Butler, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dallas, Dent, Gasconade, Laclede, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Moniteau, Montgomery, New Madrid, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Pike, Saline, Scott, St. Clair, Stoddard, 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 an 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 Bollinger County presented by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.