State’s Leading Industry Promoted with Stoddard County’s Agri-Ready Designation

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Stoddard County, an agricultural powerhouse in southeast Missouri, 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.

“Stoddard County is pleased to receive the Agri-Ready designation,” the Stoddard County Commission said in a written statement. “The Stoddard County commission is proud of our agricultural based economy. We support our farmers and all the agri-related businesses. As an Agri-Ready County, we will promote and protect agriculture in Stoddard County.”

Agriculture is the largest driver of the Stoddard County economy. In 2016, the county’s 907 farm and ranch families and agribusinesses sold over $883.4 million in agricultural products, translating into $295.1 million in added value to the local economy. Agriculture, forestry and other related industries support 3,497 local jobs, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry Study. The county’s agricultural strength is anchored in the value of soybeans, poultry processing and cotton.

“The Agri-Ready Designation will greatly benefit Stoddard County agriculture,” said Stoddard County farmer Allen Rowland. “This designation can attract more agricultural businesses to the county and thus better support the farm economy.”

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 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 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.

“Stoddard County is a great addition as an Agri-Ready Designated County,” said Ashley McCarty, Executive Director of Missouri Farmers Care. “This collaboration with county leaders, farmers, ranchers and Missouri Farmers Care will equip the county to encourage additional agricultural growth and entrepreneurship. With designation, we are developing partnerships to deliver our ten-week Agriculture Education on the Move™ program to Stoddard County students in the coming school year.”

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.

Stoddard 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, 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 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 Stoddard County presented by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development