The head of the Missouri Department of Agriculture offered the keynote address during a gathering in Alma Thursday evening. Jon Hagler encouraged the group of local farmers to continue doing what they’ve been doing.
“What always is impressive in this job is the resilience of farm families and it doesn’t matter that we’ve faced these record challenges over the last couple years. You look at this room, you look at this great community, the Santa Fe Agri-Leaders and the way they’ve come together” he says. “They’re spending their time and their days learning how to be better farmers. They’re already excellent farmers and they’re trying to figure out how they can be better and that’s what’s going to keep us on top of the nation, what’s going to keep up on top of the world.”
Hagler describes the farm sector as the bright spot in the nation’s troubled economy.
“We spend a lot of time investing in ourselves, a lot of time reinvesting in equipment and technology and embracing technology and I think that’s preparing us for the world.”
He sited the quality of U.S. farm products as one reason for growth in agricultural exports .
“When we travel around, Governor (Jay) Nixon is really pushing markets abroad and we look at those markets abroad and you look at the opportunities that are there, they’re certainly there for American farm products.”
Hagler noted his recent trip to Russia with a trade delegation where “they want American products; they understand American products mean quality.”
The group was encouraged to become “ag-evangelist who stand up and fight for agriculture by connecting to the broader audience.”
A meal was served to those in attendance and official business followed Hagler’s presentation. Members voted to modify the organization’s current structure by bringing the officer team and the board of directors together as one leadership unit.