Lafayette County Joins Agri-Ready County Designation; Partnership to Enhance Local Agriculture

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Lafayette County has been granted 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.

“Our Lafayette County Commission is proud to be designated an Agri-Ready County,” said Presiding Commissioner Harold Hoflander,” thereby protecting and encouraging our farmers, ranchers and producers of agricultural products as they work each day to help agriculture thrive in Missouri. We are honored to work with Missouri Farmers Care to promote agricultural economic development both here and throughout our state.”

Agriculture is the largest driver of Lafayette County’s economy. The county’s 1,174 farm and ranch families are stewards of 326,909 acres. Agriculture, forestry and other related industries support 2,367 local jobs, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) 2016 Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry Study. County farmers and agribusinesses sold over $505 million in agricultural products, translating into $164.3 million in value added to the local economy. The county’s agricultural strength is led by soybean production, animal feed manufacturing, corn and beef cattle production.

“I’m happy to see Lafayette County designated Agri-Ready,” said David Salyer, outgoing president of Lafayette County Farm Bureau. “Not only is it important that we keep what we have, we must let prospective ag businesses know that they are welcome and that we take agricultural economic development seriously here.”

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 agricultural literacy. MFC will partner with local FFA and 4-H students 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 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 Farmers Care’s Agri-Ready Designated County partnership has attracted much interest from counties across the state,” said Ashley McCarty, executive director of Missouri Farmers Care. “As we welcome Lafayette County as a designated county, we will work in concert with local leaders to foster an environment conducive to business success, agricultural literacy and enhanced farm stewardship and productivity.”

MFC’s Agri-Ready County designation launched in December 2015 as a voluntary connection between Missouri counties and MFC. The 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. 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.

“I am pleased that Lafayette County has the Agri-Ready Designation,” said David Lueck, a member of the Lafayette County Agriculture Coalition, “as it shows ag businesses and all business that we are receptive to them coming to our county.”

Lafayette County joins Atchison, Audrain, Barry, Benton, Bollinger, Butler, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dallas, Dent, Franklin, Gasconade, Laclede, Lawrence, Lincoln, Madison, Marion, McDonald, Miller, Moniteau, Montgomery, Morgan, New Madrid, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Pike, Polk, Saline, Scott, Shannon, St. Clair, Stoddard, Sullivan, 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 awarding designation.

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