Drive to Feed Kids achieves largest year yet

DriveToFeedKids PackingThe third annual FFA Food Insecurity Service Day was held Aug. 13 at the Missouri State Fair as part of the 2019 Drive to Feed Kids campaign. Together, more than 750 FFA members and agricultural leaders packed 128,460 meals.For the third year in a row, agriculture groups in Missouri partnered to raise awareness of childhood food insecurity and support food banks across the state through the Missouri Farmers Care (MFC) Drive to Feed Kids. This summer-long effort raised $175,000, which was presented Aug. 17 at the Missouri State Fair to Feeding Missouri, the association of Missouri’s six regional food banks.

“Farmers labor each day to provide food, feed and fuel for people throughout our nation,” said Dan Cassidy, MFC secretary and chair of the Drive to Feed Kids. “Through the Drive to Feed Kids, a broad coalition of the state’s agricultural groups works to provide a safety net for those in need. We are extremely grateful to those who made this year the largest yet.”

DriveToFeedKids ErnieMFA Incorporated CEO Ernie Verslues was among the agricultural leaders and elected officials who helped assemble backpack meals for students.On Tuesday, Aug. 13,MFC joined the Missouri FFA Association for its Food Insecurity Service Day. More than 750 FFA members and agricultural leaders spent the day packing 128,460 meals to feed families of up to six people. The meals were distributed statewide to Missouri’s regional food banks. Feeding Missouri estimates that food insecurity affects one in five children in the state. That number increases to one in three young people in rural areas.

Gov. Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson, along with Missouri elected officials and agricultural leaders such as MFA Incorporated CEO Ernie Verslues, joined the cause on Thursday, Aug. 15. Together, they packed 1,740 backpacks with food to provide weekend meals through the first month of school for students in Pettis, Benton and Cooper counties.

Fairgoers participated by bringing non-perishable food donations on Missouri Farmers Care Food Drive Tuesday. Through these activities and a generous canned food donation by Woods Supermarket, more than 15,000 pounds of food were donated to local pantries. In addition, Missouri FFA donated fresh produce from FFA student projects on display at the fair.

DriveToFeedKids Check 2019The campaign culminated with a check presentation to Feeding Missouri at the fair’s Brothers Osborne concert on Saturday night, Aug. 17.“Missouri farmers are stepping up and saying, ‘not in our state’ when it comes to childhood hunger,” said Scott Baker, state director for Feeding Missouri. “Thousands of children will have something to eat this year because of Missouri Farmers Care and their partners. The pairing of expertise with compassion shows exactly what can be done to address hunger when we work together.”

MFA Incorporated is among the many organizations, agribusinesses and individuals sponsoring the Drive to Feed Kids. For more information, visit

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USDA relocating two agencies to Kansas City

After beating out 135 other applicants, Kansas City is slated to become the new home to the U.S. De­partment of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agricul­ture (NIFA). The move will bring about 550 jobs to the Kansas City region.

Both Kansas City and St. Louis made strong bids, with St. Louis making the shortlist of three alternate sites.

When Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue an­nounced the move, he praised the Kansas City area for its affordable housing, easy commutes and extraordi­nary living conditions.

“The Kansas City region has proven itself to be hub for all things agriculture and is a booming city in Amer­ica’s heartland,” he said.

USDA’s cost-benefit analysis of the move found an estimated $300 million savings over the course of a 15-year lease. These savings would mainly come from reduced rental and employment costs. The money saved will go into funding for research on issues affect­ing rural areas and farmers.

More than 93% of NIFA’s positions and 77% of ERS’s positions will relocate to Kansas City. The move will be phased in, with initial transfers this summer and the entire move completed by this fall. Employees will re­ceive moving assistance, and all will have an opportu­nity to continue their employment in the new location.

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MFA interns explore career opportunities

2019Interns DroneMFA Ag Experience interns are, front row, from left: Matt Reidenbach, Sydnee Mason, Anna Higgins and Lane Groce. Back row, from left: Jordan Sayre, Jacob Beck, Alex Neal, Spencer Hockman, Ross Essner and Nicholas Kientzy. Not pictured is Macey Hurst.The 2019 group of MFA Ag Ex­perience Apprentices started their in­ternship May 20 with an orientation at the home office in Columbia, and they will complete their 12-week program on Aug. 9. The interns work with MFA Incorporated and its members in areas that match their career objectives. As trusted employees, the students have access to the same technology resources, events and programs that other full-time employees in similar po­sitions do. Students are challenged to apply their classroom knowledge and previous work experience in real-world situations affecting business. To be eligible for this program, students must be pursuing a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college/university, be a full-time student in good standing with a grade point average above 2.75 and have completed their sophomore year of college. At the conclusion of the program, students give a presentation of what they learned throughout the summer to senior-level managers. Students who perform well during the program may receive an offer to return to MFA the following summer or work part-time throughout the school year.

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