OSAGE BEACH, Mo. — Missouri Farmers Care (MFC) unveiled a new program called Agri-Ready Designation Program at the 46th missouriAnnual Missouri Governor’s Conference on Agriculture Wednesday, December 16. MFC is made up of 36 different businesses and organizations.

Dr. Alan Wessler, Interim Executive Director for Missouri Farmers Care says, “Agri-Ready connects our organization to counties… that have said agriculture is an important part of our economic base and it’s important to our communities and to our businesses. This is a vehicle which will allow the recognition of those counties that said because this is important to us we are open to growing, and not only operations that are already here.”

Dr. Wessler notes that Missouri has about 284,000 farmers, 99,000 farms, and 97% of those farms are family owned. In 2014 there were 11 billion dollars moved in commodities in Missouri. Agriculture is a big economic driver in Missouri and programs like this are here to help grow the agriculture business. In a press release from MFC, Alan Wessler says, “When we realize that less than 2 percent feeds the other 98 percent it becomes important to get people back on the farm.”

Dr. Wessler says the requirements counties need to meet are:

  • The applying county won’t define any agriculture operation more stringently than state law or regulations.

  • No counties will discourage, limit, or restrict agricultural operations.

  • The county will defer to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for all the environmental permitting of agricultural operations.

  • The county won’t require air water monitoring or air particle containment.

  • Counties will allow land application of nutrients and crop production products at agronomic rates based on date from the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri.

There are other requirements, but Wessler says those are the main requirements. Counties are certified for one year when they meet these requirements, and will have to apply annually.

Dr. Wessler says, “Our goal here is to promote and connect counties that support Missouri agriculture… we’re going to do that on our website, we’re going to do that with regional economic commissions… Our members travel the state. They’re all over the state and they come into contact frequently with people who have said…  I’d like to expand my operation or I’d like to start an agribusiness or I want to bring one into that state. Let’s face it, agriculture and agribusinesses that are growing are going to provide more tax breaks to those counties to help with roads and bridges, schools and other issues that are important to those counties economic well being. That’s why counties need to get on board.”

To find out more information about how counties can become Agri-Ready, visit the MFC Website: missourifarmerscare.org. You can contact Dr. Alan Wessler at 573-876-5248 or within the next couple of weeks e-mail Ashley McCarty at ashley@missourifarmerscare.org.