Showcasing the Importance of Agriculture, St. Clair County Attains Agri-Ready County Designation

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(JEFFERSON CITY, MO.) – With interest in growing additional opportunities in the local agricultural economy, St. Clair 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 that create an environment conducive to agricultural opportunity and growth which are willing to actively support Missouri’s largest industry.
“We are very proud to receive this designation from Missouri Farmers Care and we hope that it will spur more investment in the value added products in our county,” said Bob Salmon, St. Clair County Presiding Commissioner.
In 2016, St. Clair County’s 728 farm and ranch families sold over $76.3 million in agricultural products. Agriculture, forestry and other related industries provided 935 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 beef cattle farming and ranching, oilseed farming, and all other crop farming. The beef cattle industry alone contributes over $36 million in sales to the St. Clair County economy.
“The Agri-Ready designation from Missouri Farmers Care is another demonstration of St. Clair County’s commitment to our local farmers and the agricultural industry,” said St. Clair County Economic Developer Sheridan Garman-Neeman.
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.
“It is a pleasure to work with the county leaders in St. Clair 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 Ashley McCarty, executive director of MFC. “Agriculture is the uncontested leader of not only St. Clair County’s economy, but the economy of every county in the state. Our partnership will work to build on the county’s agricultural strengths and support an environment that opens new opportunities for the county.”
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.
St. Clair County joins Atchison, Audrain, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Dallas, Dent, Gasconade, Marion, Moniteau, New Madrid, Oregon, Pike, Saline, Scott, 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 contactAshley 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 St. Clair County, presented by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.