August 16, 2016

Agriculture leaders from Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska gather to discuss farm economy

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. –Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Richard Fordyce and University of Missouri Extension’s Dr. Scott Brown hosted a Four-State Economic Discussion with state leaders from Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska on Tuesday, Aug. 2 in St. Joseph, Mo. The meeting was a unique opportunity for collaboration and allowed each state to report feedback gathered from producers and agriculture finance experts in their respective states.  This feedback will ultimately assist in setting outreach and policy priorities. 

“Our meeting this week was both productive and unprecedented,” Missouri Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce said. “Having state department representatives and university extension leaders from each of the states all in one room resulted in key takeaways that will ensure agriculture continues to thrive.”

Other state leaders in attendance included Loyd Wilson, Missouri Department of Agriculture deputy director; Rob Kallenbach, University of Missouri; John Lawrence and Chad Hart, Iowa State University; Chad Bontrager, Kansas Department of Agriculture deputy secretary; Janel Koons, Kansas State University Research and Extension; Mat Habrock, Nebraska Department of Agriculture assistant director and Dave Aiken, University of Nebraska. 

“We’ve been told time and time again to support international trade,” said Chad Bontrager, Kansas Department of Agriculture. “This meeting highlighted that need even further with the discussion around a historic supply and demand situation.” 

The meeting also included presentations by Sterling Liddell, Rabo AgriFinance, and James Glueck, U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. 

“I applaud the Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska state departments of agriculture for proactively engaging in this discussion,” Glueck said. “We have a responsibility to educate folks on agriculture, when times are tough and when times are good.”

Common themes that emerged from the discussion included the importance of encouraging international trade, supporting younger generations’ efforts to return to the farm and helping producers recognize break-even points and profit margins. 

In July 2016, Director Fordyce and department staff toured the state to listen to farmers, ranchers and community leaders about their take on the current financial situation and current opportunities and challenges facing the industry. Nearly 400 people came to discuss the latest topics in Missouri agriculture. Similar sessions were hosted by departments of agriculture and university extension offices in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.

Additional information about the Missouri Department of Agriculture can be found at Agriculture.Mo.Gov.