Oregon County Leads With Agri-Ready County Designation

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(JEFFERSON CITY, MO.) – Leading the way in the Ozark Highlands, Oregon County has applied for and achieved Agri-Ready County Designation by Missouri Farmers Care (MFC), a coalition of 44 leading Missouri agricultural groups. This designation identifies counties which have built an environment conducive to agricultural opportunity and growth that are willing to actively support Missouri’s largest industry.
“Agriculture is the essential ingredient to Oregon County’s economy,” said Patrick Ledgerwood, Oregon County Presiding Commissioner.  “We are proud of this designation and hope it will help keep agriculture viable in Oregon County for generations to come.”  
Oregon County’s 752 farm and ranch families sold over $146.4 million in agricultural products in 2016 and agriculture, forestry and related industries provided 1,205 local jobs, according to the recently released Missouri Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry Study. The county’s agricultural strength is anchored in the value of livestock and timber sales with its top three contributors being beef cattle, commercial logging, and dairy cattle. Commercial logging in the county generates $8 million in sales and beef and dairy cattle combined contribute $38.9 million in sales.
“We are pleased to announce Oregon County has achieved Agri-Ready Designation; recognizing the county’s strong commitment to farmers and ranchers,” said Ashley McCarty, executive director of MFC. “Agriculture is a strong economic component of many counties, including Oregon. Designation showcases the economic contribution of agriculture that creates jobs and helps maintain the roads, bridges and schools that add value to the economy and the quality of life in Oregon County. We will work to highlight and build on the county’s agricultural strengths.”
Through the Agri-Ready program, MFC will partner with county leaders, farmers and agribusinesses 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.
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 our communities.
Oregon County joins Atchison, Audrain, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Dallas, Dent, Gasconade, Marion, Moniteau, New Madrid, Pike, Saline, Scott, St. Clair 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.
Missouri Farmers Care is a joint effort by Missouri’s farming and agriculture community to stand together for the men and women who provide the food and jobs on which our communities depend. For more information about Missouri Farmers Care and the Agri-Ready County Designation program visit www.mofarmerscare.com or contact Ashley McCarty, Executive Director of Missouri Farmers Care at ashley@mofarmerscare.com or 660-341-8955.
For more information, view the 2016 Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry in Oregon County, presented by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.