Cooper County Designated An Agri-Ready County

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(Jefferson City, Mo.) – Cooper County is continuing to grow the agricultural assets of the county through its recent Agri-Ready County Designation by Missouri Farmers Care (MFC). This designation recognizes counties willing to partner in actively supporting Missouri agriculture and enhancing the agriculture industry at its roots.
“Family farms and agribusinesses form the firm foundation upon which the economic health of our Missouri communities is built,” said Ashley McCarty, executive director of Missouri Farmers Care. “Our collaboration with Cooper County leaders, farmers and ranchers and the trade organizations, commodity groups and agribusinesses which comprise MFC recognizes and equips Missouri counties for continued agricultural prosperity. Cooper County is a great addition to the Agri-Ready County program.”

MFC’s Agri-Ready County designation was launched in 2015 as a voluntary and personalized connection between Missouri counties and MFC – a joint effort by the agriculture community to stand together for the men and women who provide the food and jobs upon which we depend. With $5.2 billion in net value added to our economy in 2014 by Missouri agriculture, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), this designation recognizes and seeks to build on the impact of family farmers, agri-businesses and agriculture operations as key contributors to our economic future.

Cooper County farmers and ranchers produced more than $78 million of agriculture products from 928 farms in 2012, according to USDA’s most recent agricultural census. The county is a top ten producer of wheat, second leading producer of cut Christmas trees and productive in poultry and egg production.
“Agriculture is the life-blood of our area,” says Cooper County presiding Commissioner Don Baragary. “Cooper County sits on I-70, skirted by the Missouri River, with rail running through the county. We are a prime location for any kind of economic development with an agriculturally-based workforce. We feel MFC will help us promote our agricultural assets and build on education and workforce development opportunities. We hope other counties continue to join to promote agriculture across the entire state.”

In addition to recognizing Cooper County as an Agri-Ready County, MFC and its 36 member organizations will work with county leaders, farmers and agribusinesses to advance local agricultural enterprises, promote stewardship at the farm level through the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Stewardship Assurance Program, collaborate to bring agricultural education to elementary students and enhance workforce readiness for agricultural careers.

Counties wishing to apply for the Agri-Ready designation must meet program requirements, including no ordinances regulating agriculture more stringent than state law and willingness to support agricultural stewardship, growth and opportunities. After application is received, the Missouri Farmers Care Agri-Ready Review Committee examines local ordinances, regulations, and statements of support prior to awarding Agri-Ready status. Cooper County joins Audrain, Carroll, Dallas, Chariton, Cole, Pike and Webster counties in achieving Agri-Ready designation.

For more information about the Agri-Ready program visit www.mofarmerscare.com or contact Ashley McCarty, Executive Director of Missouri Farmers Care at 660-341-8955.