“Agriculture is the biggest economic engine in Missouri,” said Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC) board member and local farmer Charles Krueger, with support from Missouri’s commodity groups, as he hosted an educational luncheon Thursday to highlight agriculture’s important contribution to communities. “Production agriculture is just a small part of that total. Truck, trailer and equipment suppliers, fertilizer and seed dealers–so many things are connected.”
Nearly 40 participants, including state, county and community officials and citizens from the area, gathered at the Krueger Farm to experience agriculture firsthand.
“Missouri corn growers and animal agriculture are mutually dependent,” said Krueger, a family farmer from Kahoka, Mo. “We must be proactive in building relationships with community leaders so they understand the positive impact of agriculture on our towns and this state’s economy as well as the implications of the challenging business environment farmers face.”
Animal agriculture producers paid more than $240 million in income taxes and $79 million in property taxes in 2005. The tax revenue from these facilities helps fund roads, schools and libraries. From an industry perspective, cattle and other livestock consume 60 percent of all U.S. corn products and 94 percent of all U.S. soybean meal. These synergistic relationships are key to continued prosperity for the livestock, corn and soybean industries as well as local communities.
“Every 56-pound bushel of corn used in the ethanol process yields 18 pounds of distillers grains, a good source of energy and protein for livestock and poultry,” says Becky Grisham, director of communications with Missouri Corn. “Missouri’s farmer-owned ethanol plants depend on a strong livestock industry to utilize ethanol’s valuable co-product. Cattle, hogs and corn are intrinsically linked and programs like today’s Lunch and Learn work to convey that message.”
Today’s luncheon is one of 20 events scheduled across the state this summer. In addition to MCMC, other partners in the Lunch and Learn series include: the Missouri Agribusiness Association, Missouri Beef Industry Council, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri’s Cattlemen Foundation, Missouri Dairy Association, Midwest Dairy Association, Missouri Department of Agriculture, The Missouri Egg Council, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Pork Association, The Poultry Federation, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, University of Missouri Extension Commercial Agriculture Program and MFA Incorporated.
One important issue facing agriculture is the disconnection between people and their food source.
“People have become removed from where their food actually comes from,” said Krueger. “We’re going to have to educate adults. We have to continue forward. Thing will not be the same as on your grandfather’s farm.”
“We have a great task ahead,” concluded Krueger. “We have a lot of resistance out there. If we can educate people about the truth, we can get most of society behind us again.”