Keeping it local

Food, beverage and forest product manufacturing in the state of Missouri could soon be a more than $70 billion industry.

A new study found significant potential for transforming Missouri agriculture commodities into value-added products by processing locally. This study was the first step in the Show-Me- State Food, Beverage and Forest Product Manufacturing Initiative, a project of the Missouri Agricultural Foundation. TEConomy Partners, a firm specializing in research, analysis and strategy for innovation-based economic development, conducted the study.

TEConomy proposed three initiatives to grow Missouri food, beverage and forest product manufacturing:

  • Regional Food Systems Initiative, which would deliver compre­hensive, in-depth business development, product development, and supply-chain services to start-up, small- and medium-sized food-processing and manufacturing companies.
  • Foods for Health Initiative, which would develop Missouri as a leading center in the research, development, testing and production of foods linked to healthful benefits.
  • Enhanced Commodity Utilization Initiative, which would add value to Missouri’s major commodities, including livestock, soybean, corn, dairy and eggs.

TEConomy anticipates significant economic benefits if the stra­tegic initiatives are successfully implemented. The impact on Mis­souri’s economy by 2027 is projected to expand total value-added ag/food manufacturing economic activity to more than $71 billion. That is an increase of more than $25 billion beyond projected growth compared with 2017. Successful implementation would also create and support nearly 70,000 new jobs; produce addition­al annual sales and local tax revenue of more than $1 billion and increase agricultural commodity production sales by approximately $1 billion annually to meet new value-added uses.

The next step is to create a statewide task force and convene working groups around each of the three initiatives proposed in the study. The task force will deliver specific recommendations in the next 12 months.

The inaugural guiding coalition for this collaborative initiative involved Dan Cassidy, chief administrative officer of Missouri Farm Bureau; Chris Chinn, director of the Missouri Department of Ag­riculture; Christopher Daubert, vice chancellor for agriculture and dean of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resourc­es; Sen. Brian Munzlinger; and Gary Wheeler, CEO of the Missouri Soybean Association and Merchandising Council.

The study was funded with a grant from the Missouri Val­ue-Added Grant Program through the Missouri Agricultural & Small Business Development Authority. MFA Incorporated also provided support along with the CAFNR Foundation, Law Firm of Haden & Haden, Missouri Beef Industry Council, Missouri Cattle­men’s Association, Missouri Corn Growers Association, Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Egg Council, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Pork Association, Missouri Soybean Association, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and USDA Rural Development.

The full report is available on the Missouri Agricultural Founda­tion website: https://missouriagfoundation.org/initiatives/.

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