The Missouri Agricultural Foundation, in collaboration with the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) at the University of Missouri, has received funding from the Missouri Value-Added Grant Program to study the status of food, beverage and forest product manufacturing in the state. The project, called the Show-Me-State Food, Beverage and Forest Product Manufacturing Initiative, has been championed by the Foundation, an independent group that works in partnership with the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA).
“We are excited to partner with CAFNR and several state agricultural organizations for this important study,” said Mike Johanning, president of the Missouri Agricultural Foundation. “The Foundation is looking forward to helping our industry expand its impact across the state.”
The grant is through the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA), which is part of MDA. This study is the first step in what CAFNR Vice Chancellor and Dean Christopher Daubert said he would like to see become a major initiative in Missouri. Although agriculture already has a nearly $10 billion in value-added economic impact in the state, creating and capturing more value from agricultural commodities and forest product manufacturing remains a considerable opportunity.
“To help Missouri agriculture achieve greater economic impact, we all know our commodities must be transformed, in-state, to products that consumers desire,” Daubert said. “Food, beverage and forest product manufacturing can diversify and bring increased value to basic commodity production that occurs throughout rural Missouri.”
The feasibility study and economic assessment will look at the extent to which Missouri agribusinesses will benefit from a focused effort to expand food, beverage and forest product processing capabilities. This includes establishing the current status of Missouri’s food, beverage and forest product manufacturing; surveying Missouri’s production agriculture activity; conducting a resource assessment; studying leading states for processing and manufacturing capacity; and identifying opportunities to pursue this initiative.
The findings of the study will be used to grow existing businesses in the state or attract multiple food, beverage and forest product processing and manufacturing facilities to Missouri, Daubert said. Through the support of this initiative and the involvement of Missouri stakeholders, the goal is to expand the economic impact of Missouri agriculture and agribusiness to $175 billion by 2030.
Other groups have contributed to help leverage the MASBDA funding, including CAFNR; USDA Rural Development; the CAFNR Foundation; Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council; Missouri Beef Industry Council; MFA, Inc.; Missouri Farm Bureau; Missouri Corn Merchandising Council; and Missouri Pork Association.
The inaugural guiding coalition for this collaborative initiative is made up of Daubert; Chris Chinn, Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture; Sen. Brian Munzlinger; Gary M. Wheeler, CEO of the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council; and Dan Cassidy, CAO of Missouri Farm Bureau.
The study will be undertaken by TEConomy Partners LLC; the final report is expected to be delivered in December.