Open For Agriculture – OSAGE COUNTY Receives Agri-Ready Designation
(JEFFERSON CITY, MO.) – Welcoming economic growth and supporting local agriculture production, Osage 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.
“Osage County was created in 1841 and is part of the drainage basin for three major rivers: Missouri, Gasconade, and Osage,” said the Osage County Commission. “It has always been an agricultural county that took advantage of the major transportation systems as they evolved with the rivers, the railroad, and the highways. Most of our farms are family operations and many farmers also have jobs in the State Capital in Jefferson City, in the next county to the west. Recently, our county farmers have helped organize donations of hay, supplies, and cash with two convoys to the Kansas ranchers that lost so much because of the wildfire. We look forward to celebrating our agricultural status with designation as an Agri-Ready County.”
The 1,115 farm and ranch families of Osage County produced and sold over $391.5 million in agricultural products in 2016. Agriculture, forestry and related industries provided 1,727 local jobs, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry Study. The county’s agricultural strength lies in the value of dog and cat food manufacturing, beef cattle, and hogs. Dog and cat food manufacturing alone contributes over $244.3 million in sales to the Osage County economy.
“Leaders in Osage County are proud of their strong farming heritage. And for good reason,” said Ashley McCarty, executive director of MFC. “Agriculture is the uncontested leader of not only Osage County’s economy, but the economy of every county in the state. We are pleased Osage County has achieved Agri-Ready Designation; recognizing the county’s strong commitment to farmers and ranchers. Our partnership will work to highlight and build on the county’s agricultural strengths and build economic opportunity.”
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.
Missouri agriculture provided 378,232 jobs and added $88.4 billion in net value to the state’s economy in 2016, according to the MDA, making agriculture the largest sector of the economy. MFC’s Agri-Ready County Designation, launched in December 2015 as a voluntary connection between Missouri counties and MFC, 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.
Osage County joins Atchison, Audrain, Benton, Butler, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dallas, Dent, Gasconade, Laclede, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Moniteau, New Madrid, Oregon, Pike, Saline, Scott, St. Clair, Stoddard, Sullivan, 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, visit us at www.mofarmerscare.com and view the 2016 Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry in Osage County presented by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.