Warren County has been recognized for its support of agricultural development, education and economic growth through its designation as an Agri-Ready County.

Missouri Farmers Care (MFC), a coalition of more than 40 leading Missouri agricultural groups, grants designation to counties that create an environment conducive to agricultural entrepreneurship and opportunity which actively supports Missouri’s largest industry.

Warren County recently was notified of its selection by Missouri Farmers Care as an Agri-Ready County.

A purpose of Missouri Farmers Care is to collaborate with Agri-Ready Counties to encourage economic development, agribusiness growth, on-farm stewardship and agricultural education opportunities.

Presiding Commissioner Joe Gildehaus commented that receiving such designation was a true honor for all of Warren County. Commissioner Hubie Kluesner, who has been involved in farming and agribusiness most of his life, concurred and went on to state, “Farming will always be the heart blood of America and Missouri. We need to do everything we can to responsibly promote farming and agribusiness in Warren County.”

According to the most recent data available, agriculture in Warren County generated $287.7 million in agricultural product sales, which translates into $85.2 million in value-added to the local economy in 2016. Agriculture, forestry and other related industries support 1,472 local jobs, according to the 2016 Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) Economic Contributions of Agriculture and Forestry Study. The county’s agricultural strength is anchored in food product manufacturing, soybean production and beef cattle.

“Farming and related agricultural commerce in Warren County continue to provide a way of life for local farm families as well as economic benefit for local communities,” said Stacy Ward, president of Warren County Farm Bureau. “The Agri-Ready Designation recognizes the importance of agriculture locally and helps promote opportunities in the county for future generations.”

Through the Agri-Ready program, MFC partners with county leaders to advance local agricultural enterprise, promote the county as a prime location for business expansion and enhance workforce readiness for agricultural careers.

In addition, MFC recruits local 4-H and FFA leaders to implement Agriculture Education on the Move in third-grade classrooms. These student leaders will present agricultural careers, crop science, and livestock production segments through engaging, hands-on activities and lessons while developing their speaking and leadership skills.

“Recognizing the strength and potential of Warren County agriculture, county leaders have embraced Agri-Ready Designation,” said Ashley McCarty, MFC executive director. “Warren County already possesses strong agricultural production, diversification into value-added food processing and a proximity to workforce and consumer markets — a strong foundation upon which to build additional agricultural activity.

“In addition, we look forward to joining with local FFA and 4-H leaders to deliver agricultural curriculum to elementary students, connecting them with their food supply and the hard-working individuals who raise it.”

MFC’s Agri-Ready County Designation was launched in December 2015 as a voluntary connection between Missouri counties and the Missouri Farmers Care organization. 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.

Warren County joins Andrew, Atchison, Audrain, Barry, Benton, Bollinger, Buchanan, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carrol, Chariton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dallas, Dent, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Gentry, Henry, Holt, Iron, Johnson, Laclede, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lincoln, Madison, Marion, McDonald, Mercer, Miller, Mississippi, Moniteau, Montgomery, Morgan, New Madrid, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Perry, Pike, Polk, Randolph, Reynolds, Saline, Scott, Shannon, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stoddard, Sullivan, Texas, Vernon, 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 the 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 Warren County Fact Sheet presented by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.

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