Webster County Achieves Agri-Ready County Designation

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(JEFFERSON CITY, MO.) – With interest in strengthening a strong agricultural economy and heritage,
Webster County has applied for and achieved Agri-Ready County Designation by Missouri Farmers Care (MFC). This designation recognizes counties willing to partner in actively supporting Missouri agriculture and enhancing the agriculture industry at its roots.

“Missouri farmers contribute more than just growing our food, family farms and agribusinesses form the foundation of the economy in Missouri communities,” said Ashley McCarty, executive director of MFC. “The collaboration with county leaders, farmers and ranchers and Missouri Farmers Care positions counties to capitalize on agricultural opportunities. Webster County’s strength in livestock production can be built upon through the Agri-Ready County Designation.”

Through the Agri-Ready County Designation, MFC will work with county leaders, farmers and agribusinesses to advance local agricultural enterprises and enhance workforce readiness for agricultural careers. The collaboration will include promotion of the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Stewardship Assurance Program recognizing stewardship at the farm level. To advance agriculture literacy at elementary ages, MFC will seek local 4-H and FFA leaders to implement the Agriculture Education on the Move program in Webster County third grade classrooms.

Webster County’s farmers and ranchers sold over $76 million in market value of agricultural products in 2012 from 1,837 farms, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) most recent agricultural census. Ninety two percent of the value is derived from livestock sales as the county ranks in the top ten statewide for raising cattle and calves, milk from cows and pullets for laying flock replacement and first in the country for rabbit production. The county is a leading producer of feed products including sorghum for silage, forage land used for all hay and corn for silage.

“I am very proud of our rural farm roots,” said Paul Ipock, Webster County Presiding Commissioner. “It’s a way of life down here with our strong connections to the dairy and beef industries. I am very proud to be a part of a county that is helping to feed America.”

MFC’s Agri-Ready County designation launched in 2015 as a voluntary connection between Missouri counties and MFC – a joint effort by the agriculture community to stand together for the men and women who provide the food and jobs on which our communities depend. According to the USDA, Missouri agriculture added $5.2 billion in net value to the state’s economy in 2014. This Agri-Ready designation recognizes and builds on the impact of family farmers and agri-businesses as key contributors to our economy.

Webster County joins Audrain, Carroll, Cooper, Chariton, Dallas, Cole and Pike counties in achieving Agri-Ready designation. Counties wishing to apply for the 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 Missouri Farmers Care Agri-Ready Review Committee examines local ordinances, regulations, and statements of support prior to awarding Agri-Ready designation.

For more information about Missouri Farmer Care and the Agri-Ready County Designation program visit www.mofarmerscare.com or contact Ashley McCarty, Executive Director of Missouri Farmers Care at 660-341-8955.