The announcement, made earlier this month at the Audrain Agribusiness luncheon in Mexico, Missouri, included Agri-Ready’s hope that the designations will encourage growth and development of local agricultural enterprises.
The Agri-Ready program, established in 2015, was developed by Missouri Famers Care to recognize counties that support the growth of agriculture and corresponding industries. The designation showcases a countywide commitment to expanding current farming operations and industry entities to encourage long-term growth for local economies. Missouri Farmers Care and its 36 member organizations will be working closely with county leadership, farmers and agribusinesses in designated counties to advance local agricultural enterprises.
“The county commissions’ pursuit of Agri-Ready designation indicates their desire to strengthen family farms, jobs and a stronger tax base in their communities,” says Alan Wessler, DVM, Missouri Farmers Care chairman. “The Agri-Ready status is another avenue to support family farmers who make up 95 percent of Missouri’s farm community. In supporting the number one economic engine in Missouri, the Agri-Ready designation recognizes the role all farms, ranches and agribusinesses play in Missouri’s economic health, but in particular our strong family farmer contingent.”
Audrain County is a top producer of Missouri soybeans, second leading producer of corn and top 10 producer of wheat. The county’s 1,015 farms are incredibly productive, with $151 million in agricultural products sold according to the 2012 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) census. Carroll County, home to more than 1,100 farmers and processors, is also a leader in corn and soybean production, ranking sixth and seventh in the state, respectively. The most recent USDA census data indicates farming in Carroll County generated $130 million in agricultural products in 2012.
Counties wishing to apply for the Agri-Ready designation must meet all program requirements, including no ordinances regulating agriculture more stringent than state law and willingness to support agricultural stewardship, growth and opportunities. A Missouri Farmers Care committee will review local ordinances, regulations and supportive industry statements prior to awarding a county the Agri-Ready status.