Missouri Farmers Care Grants Miller County Agri-Ready Designation

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(Jefferson City, Mo.) Welcoming economic growth and supporting local agriculture production, Miller County has applied for and achieved 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.

“Miller County is proud to receive the Agri-Ready County Designation from Missouri Farmers Care,” the Miller County Commission said in a written statement. “Agriculture is very important to the economy of the Miller County in providing income and jobs for our people that are involved in this sector of our county’s economic structure. We’re proud of our farming communities and proud to support them with this designation.”

Agriculture is already an important force in the Miller County economy. In 2016, the county’s 1,013 farm and ranch families and agribusinesses sold over $151.8 million in agricultural products. Agriculture, forestry and other related industries provided 1,563 local jobs, according to the recently released Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry Study. The county’s agricultural strength is anchored in the value of hogs, beef cattle and turkeys.

“This shows that Miller County, Missouri is preparing a very fertile seedbed for the agriculture industry of this county to grow and prosper,” Chuck Miller, a beef producer from Miller County said. “The agriculture industry is the largest and most long-term contributing of all industries in our county. In becoming an Agri-Ready County, we hope to be an example for other counties to follow suit and showcase Missouri agriculture. I applaud Missouri Farmers Care for being proactive in this arena.”

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 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.

“Miller County has an extensive and valuable agricultural community,” Elizabeth Wyss, MFC Outreach Coordinator said. “I am excited to see how Agri-Ready Designation will benefit not only current farmers and agricultural businesses in the county, but also the many young people in local agriculture programs and the citizens of Miller County that witness agricultural practices everyday.”

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.

Miller 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, Sullivan, St. Clair, Stoddard, Washington, Wayne, Webster and Wright 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.

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