Mercer County promotes agriculture through Agri-Ready Designation
JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Mercer County has been recognized for its continued support of agricultural development, education and economic growth by achieving Agri-Ready County Designation. Announcement of the designation was made at the Mercer County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Princeton, Mo. on Wednesday, Sept. 19. Missouri Farmers Care (MFC), a coalition of 46 leading Missouri agricultural groups, grants designation to counties that create an environment conducive to agricultural entrepreneurship and opportunity and actively support Missouri’s largest industry.
“We are pleased to be an Agri-Ready County and are excited to see what it brings,” said Jerry Allen, Mercer County Presiding Commissioner. “Agriculture is the base of Mercer County, without it, we would not exist. Support for agriculture is very important to us, and I believe support starts with educating our youth.”
Through the Agri-Ready program, MFC recruits local 4-H and FFA leaders to implement Agriculture Education on the Move™ in third-grade classrooms. Student leaders will present agricultural careers, crop science, and livestock production through engaging, hands-on activities and lessons while developing their speaking and leadership skills. In addition, MFC partners with county leaders to advance local agricultural enterprise, promote the county as a prime location for business expansion and enhance workforce readiness for agricultural careers.
“Missouri Farmers Care, of which Missouri Farm Bureau is a founding member, developed a partnership in 2015 with counties that embrace agricultural growth and opportunity. Since then, 57 Missouri counties have achieved Agri-Ready County Designation,” said Todd Hays, Missouri Farm Bureau vice president, at the Mercer County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. “This Designation effectively hangs up an open for business sign in Mercer County. Through this partnership with Missouri agriculture, the county will become better known as a great place for agriculture, partnerships will invest in agricultural literacy and agriculture stewardship will be highlighted.”
According to the most recent data available, agriculture in Mercer County generated $73.6 million in agricultural product sales, which translates into $47.6 million in value-added to the local economy in 2016. Agriculture, forestry, and other related industries support 693 local jobs, according to the 2016 Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry Study. The county’s agricultural strength is anchored in the value of hogs and soybean farming.
MFC’s Agri-Ready County Designation launched in December 2015 as a voluntary connection between Missouri counties and Missouri Farmers Care and their members. 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.
Mercer County joins Andrew, Atchison, Audrain, Barry, Benton, Bollinger, Buchanan, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Crawford, Dallas, Dent, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Gentry, Henry, Holt, Iron, Johnson, Laclede, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lincoln, Madison, Marion, Mercer, McDonald, Miller, Moniteau, Montgomery, Morgan, New Madrid, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Pike, Polk, Randolph, Reynolds, Saline, Scott, Shannon, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stoddard, Sullivan, Texas, Vernon, 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 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 Mercer County Fact Sheet presented by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau, and Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.
MISSOURI FARMERS CARE
Missouri Farmers Care is a joint effort by Missouri’s agriculture community to stand together for the men and women who provide the food and jobs on which our communities depend. The coalition of more than 45 leading Missouri agricultural groups promotes the growth of Missouri agriculture and rural communities through coordinated communication, education and advocacy. www.MOFarmersCare.com