Montgomery County Achieves Agri-Ready County Designation; Begins Partnership to Advance Agricultural Opportunity
Welcoming economic growth and supporting local agriculture production, Montgomery County 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.
“Montgomery County is a rural county, agriculture is what drives our economy, which is why we are so excited to have applied for and attained the MFC ‘Agri-Ready County Designation,'” Ryan Poston, Montgomery County Presiding Commissioner said. “We welcome any and all agriculture into our county and will do whatever we can not to inhibit agriculture because Montgomery County is very reliant on agriculture. Montgomery County looks forward to continuing a long and successful relationship with our farmers and we do our best to support them in every aspect of their business.”
Agriculture is already an important force in the Montgomery County economy. In 2016, the county’s 795 farm and ranch families and agribusinesses sold over $413.7 million in agricultural products. Agriculture, forestry and other related industries provided 1,552 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 soybeans, crop input sales, beef cattle, and hogs.
“I am pleased that Montgomery County is now Agri-Ready, hanging a welcome sign to agriculture and acknowledging its importance to the county and state,” said Luella Gregory, vice president and education chair of Montgomery County Farm Bureau. “Agriculture is the most important economic driver of Montgomery County. Over 700 farms represent the diversity this county offers. From row crop and related inputs, to cattle and hog production, it is so important we understand and value farm families while supporting growth and change that benefits all.”
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.
“It is a pleasure to begin this partnership with the leaders in Montgomery County and other designated counties, who not only recognize the contributions of their local farmers and ranchers, but also actively continue to seek avenues for new opportunities,” said MFC Executive Director Ashley McCarty. “The economic health of Missouri communities is rooted in the strength of their agricultural production and processing, and we are excited to help build on that strength through the Agri-Ready County Designation.”
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.
Montgomery County joins Atchison, Audrain, Barry, Benton, Bollinger, Butler, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dallas, Dent, Gasconade, Laclede, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Moniteau, 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 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 Montgomery County presented by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.