Scott County Granted Agri-Ready County Designation By Missouri Farmers Care

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(BENTON, MO.) – With interest in supporting agriculture, the mainstay of the county economy, Scott County has applied for and attained Agri-Ready County Designation by Missouri Farmers Care (MFC). This designation identifies counties that create an environment conducive to agricultural opportunity and growth and are willing to partner in actively supporting Missouri’s largest industry.
“Scott County is a rural county, agriculture is what drives our economy, which is why we readily applied for the Agri-Ready County Designation,” said Jamie Burger, Scott County Presiding Commissioner.  “We welcome any and all agriculture into our county and will do whatever we can not to inhibit agriculture because Scott County is very reliant on agriculture.”
Of the roughly 272,000 acres of land in Scott County, more than 81 percent, or nearly 223,000 acres, is farmland according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Scott County ranks among the state’s top ten counties for value of agricultural products sold, with farmers producing $188.7 million of agricultural products per year during the USDA’s most recent agricultural census. The county ranks in the top five statewide for value of sales of cotton and cottonseed; vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes; acres of wheat for grain and number of meat chickens.
“With a highly productive agricultural economy and ready access to global markets through the SEMO Port, Scott County farmers are leaders in agricultural production,” said Ashley McCarty, executive director of MFC. “Scott County is a great addition as an Agri-Ready Designated County. This collaboration with county leaders, farmers, ranchers and Missouri Farmers Care will equip the county to encourage additional agricultural growth and entrepreneurship.”
MFC’s Agri-Ready County designation launched in December 2015 as a voluntary connection between Missouri counties and MFC. According to the USDA, Missouri agriculture added $5.2 billion in net value to the state’s economy in 2014, 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.
Through the program, MFC will partner with county leaders, farmers and agribusinesses to advance local agricultural enterprises and workforce readiness for agricultural careers. MFC will recruit local 4-H and FFA leaders to implement Agriculture Education on the Move in Scott County third grade classrooms. This partnership will present agricultural careers and crop and livestock production through engaging, hands-on activities and lessons while providing speaking and mentoring opportunities for the selected high school participants. In addition, the collaboration includes promotion of the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s voluntary Agricultural Stewardship Assurance Program recognizing stewardship at the farm level.
In southeastern Missouri, Scott County joins New Madrid County in achieving the Agri-Ready designation. Statewide, 11 other counties:  Atchison, Audrain, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Dallas, Gasconade, Marion, Pike and Webster have also achieved Agri-Ready status.
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, zoning 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 Farmer Care and the Agri-Ready County Designation program visit  www.mofarmerscare.com or contact Ashley McCarty, Executive Director of Missouri Farmers Care at 660-341-8955 .