Caldwell County Attains Agri-Ready Designation; Begins Partnership to Advance Agricultural Opportunity

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Affirming a commitment to agricultural development, education and economic opportunity, Caldwell County has achieved Agri-Ready County Designation. Missouri Farmers Care (MFC), a coalition of more than 40 leading Missouri agricultural groups, designates counties that create an environment conducive to agricultural entrepreneurship and opportunity which actively support Missouri’s largest industry.

“The Commissioners have been working with Missouri Farmers Care Executive Director Ashley McCarty for the last two years to make sure the county ordinances comply with the Agri-Ready requirements,” said Caldwell County Commissioners. “We are very pleased that Caldwell County has been accepted. We feel this will benefit the agricultural community within our county.”

According to the most recent data available, agriculture in Caldwell County generated more than $112 million in agricultural product sales, which translates into $79.5 million in value-added to the local economy in 2016. Agriculture, forestry, and other related industries support 1,345 local jobs, according to the 2016 Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry Study. The strength of the county’s farm production is anchored in livestock, soybean production and horses.

“I really appreciate our Commissioners recognizing the importance of agriculture in Caldwell County,” said Caldwell County agriculture leader Sean Cornelius. “Being Agri-Ready tells the world we support our area farmers and ranchers and brings the support of multiple state organizations in finding ways to boost farm income in Caldwell County. Our farmers work hard at providing food and fiber that sustains our families, we appreciate the support the commissioners have shown our community and look forward to building business in our county.

Through the Agri-Ready program, MFC partners with county leaders to advance local agricultural enterprise, promote the county as a prime location for business expansion and enhance workforce readiness for agricultural careers. In addition, MFC recruits local 4-H and FFA leaders to implement Agriculture Education on the Move™ in third-grade classrooms. These student leaders will present agricultural careers, crop science, and livestock production segments through engaging, hands-on activities and lessons while developing their speaking and leadership skills.

“Caldwell County leaders are proactive in seeking opportunities for the county to prosper,” said MFC Executive Director Ashley McCarty. “Caldwell County farmers and ranchers have supported the County Commission’s leadership to ensure the environment in Caldwell County is open to agricultural opportunity. Agri-Ready County Designation can serve as an effective tool to build on the county’s strengths and create new opportunities in the region.”

MFC’s Agri-Ready County Designation launched in December 2015 as a voluntary connection between Missouri counties and the Missouri Farmers Care organization. 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.

Caldwell County joins Andrew, Atchison, Audrain, Barry, Benton, Bollinger, Buchanan, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carrol, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dallas, Dent, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Gentry, Henry, Holt, Howell, Iron, Johnson, Laclede, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, Marion, McDonald, Mercer, Miller, Mississippi, Moniteau, Montgomery, Morgan, New Madrid, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Pemiscot, Perry, Pike, Polk, Randolph, Reynolds, Saline, Scott, Shannon, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stoddard, Sullivan, Texas, Vernon, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster and Wright counties in achieving Agri-Ready Designation.

Counties wishing to apply for Agri-Ready County Designation must meet program requirements, including no ordinances regulating agriculture more stringent than state law and support of agricultural stewardship, growth, and opportunities. After the application is received from the county commission, the MFC Agri-Ready Review Committee examines any local ordinances, regulations and statements of support prior to MFC awarding designation.

For more information, view the 2016 Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry in Caldwell County Fact Sheet presented by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau, and Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.



Photo Caption: Caldwell County is the latest to attain Agri-Ready Designation; bringing the total of Agri-Ready Counties to 65. Missouri Farmers Care (MFC), a coalition of more than 40 Missouri agricultural groups, designates counties that create an environment conducive to agricultural entrepreneurship and opportunity which actively support Missouri’s agriculture industry.