Laclede and Wright County Leaders Look to Enhance Local Agriculture Through Recent Agri-Ready Designation
(JEFFERSON CITY, MO.) – Supporting their communities’ roots in agriculture while welcoming economic growth, Laclede and Wright counties have 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 that create an environment conducive to agricultural opportunity and growth which are willing to actively support Missouri’s largest industry.
“We believe that agriculture is the most important industry in Missouri,” said Laclede County Presiding Commissioner Danny Rhoades. “We also believe that our family farms have to stay strong to keep our community strong. Our county couldn’t survive without farmers. We honor the agriculture community in Laclede County for the good job they do producing food for us to eat. We want to thank our farmers for their commitment to provide food for the tables in Laclede County, Missouri.”
The top contributors to the Laclede County economy: horses, pallet manufacturing, beef cattle, and sheep, are prime examples of the diversity across Missouri agriculture. In 2016, Laclede County’s 1,398 farm and ranch families sold over $282.1 million in agricultural products, according to the recently released Missouri Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry study. Agriculture, forestry and other related industries provided 2,446 local jobs, with $91.1 million in labor income.
“Wright County is the number one dairy county in the State of Missouri,” said Zach Williams, Wright County Presiding Commissioner. “When the dairy industry is hurting it effects the entire county. We sought Agri-Ready Designation to support local agricultural opportunity.”
Beef cattle, dairy cattle and milk production and animal feed manufacturing are strong economic drivers in Wright County, with agriculture, forestry and related industries generating a total of $249.3 million in agricultural sales according to the MDA study. These sales translate to $73.4 million in added value to the region after $175.9 million of inputs are purchased.
“The economic health of Missouri communities is rooted in the strength of the agricultural production and processing around them,” said Ashley McCarty, MFC executive director. “Laclede County farmers and ranchers asked us to visit their county to present the benefits of Agri-Ready Designation to their commissioners. The Wright County Commission recognized an opportunity to support their dairy, beef and supporting industries. We look forward to working with Laclede and Wright county leaders.”
Through Agri-Ready Designation, MFC partners with county leaders, farmers and agribusinesses to advance local agricultural enterprise, promote counties 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 local 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.
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.
Laclede and Wright counties join Atchison, Audrain, Benton, Butler, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dallas, Dent, Gasconade, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Moniteau, New Madrid, Oregon, Osage, Pike, Saline, Scott, St. Clair, Stoddard, Sullivan, Washington, Wayne and Webster 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 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, visit us at www.mofarmerscare.com or view the 2016 Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry in Laclede County or Wright County, presented by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.