With Interest in Building on Agricultural Strengths, Sullivan County Receives Agri-Ready Designation

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(KIRKSVILLE, MO.) – Sullivan County, a leader in agricultural production and processing in northern 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.

“Achieving Agri-Ready County Designation is another way to support agriculture, the backbone of Sullivan County’s economy,” said Chris May, Sullivan County Presiding Commissioner. “Designation will deliver new educational opportunities for our youth, the future of Sullivan County, while welcoming business growth can create new opportunities for our local workforce.”

In 2016, Sullivan County’s 798 farm and ranch families and agribusinesses sold over $895.6 million in agricultural products. Agriculture, forestry and other related industries provided 2,477 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 oil seed farming. Animal processing alone contributes over $602.4 million in sales to the Sullivan County economy.

“Agriculture is the uncontested leader of not only Sullivan County’s economy, but the economy of every county in the state,” said Ashley McCarty, executive director of MFC. “Sullivan County has developed significant agricultural production and processing, and is positioned to create new opportunities from those strengths. Our partnership will build on existing agricultural assets, tying together the resources of strong community spirit, productive farmers, and support for agricultural education and jobs for the future.”

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.

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.

Sullivan County joins Atchison, Audrain, Butler, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Dallas, Dent, Gasconade, Laclede, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Moniteau, New Madrid, Oregon, Osage, Pike, Saline, Scott, St. Clair, Stoddard, Washington and Webster 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 Sullivan County presented by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.