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Serving: MO

Ag department highlights successes in 2018

MORE campaign graphic
GETTING IT DONE: Chris Chinn pledged to do more during her time at the helm of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Despite the rough farm economy, the department has seen several successes in 2018.
Ag Matters: MORE campaign delivers for farmers and rural Missouri.

It has been 94 years since Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture that sits atop the Missouri State Capitol, has touched the ground. This winter, she was temporarily removed from the Capitol dome to be restored and revitalized, bringing to an end many disagreements on who was chosen to represent the state of Missouri.

Missouri agriculture has always been the lifeblood of the Show Me State. That tie is an unbroken bond that grounds us and reminds us of how important agriculture has always been to Missouri. For farmers and ranchers, that makes the choice of Ceres a perfect fit to represent agriculture and the small communities in which we live.

In small communities across Missouri, I’ve seen people who are struggling. We seem to have fewer small businesses and local newspapers, and the next generation continues to grow the urban population instead of returning home.

Although many rural Main Streets across Missouri have drastically changed since I was growing up, that fact still remains. Agriculture is thriving today and continues to be the strongest economic driver in our state.

Agriculture has a lot to be thankful for this year; although, that can be challenging to see with low commodity prices and uncertainty in the marketplace. In the last two months, farmers, ranchers and the agribusiness community has seen a new U.S., Mexico and Canada Trade Agreement, signs of relief from trade tensions with China and a nearly on-time farm bill.

These challenges, opportunities and citizens are the inspiration for our MORE Strategic Vision. As I’ve written before, the MORE Strategic Vision is different for the Missouri Department of Agriculture. This is more than just a public relations campaign — it’s real action. It’s action that will benefit not just rural Missouri, but all of Missouri.

I’m proud of the team at the Missouri Department of Agriculture and all of the partnerships that took our efforts to the next level. Nearly every agriculture organization, and the farmers and ranchers that they represent, were a part of our successes in 2018.

Here are a couple of highlights for us to celebrate collectively:

feedMORE. During the Drive to Feed Kids at the Missouri State Fair, our partners in agriculture came together to provide more than 1.2 million meals to families in need.

reachMORE. Through the Department of Agriculture, Missouri State Fair, Missouri Wines and Missouri Grown social media accounts, we reached 1.4 million citizens with the positive story of Missouri agriculture.

connectMORE. This year, we achieved several milestones — establishing an Office of Broadband, hiring the new broadband manager and laying out a broadband roadmap with stakeholder input — to improve high-speed internet deployment.

empowerMORE. Our team has proposed to amend or eliminate 40% of rules on the books to remove regulatory burden on our farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses.

Thank you for your support in 2018, and we look forward to an incredible 2019 as Gov. Mike Parson and the entire cabinet continue to work on meaningful change.

Chinn is the director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture and a hog producer from Clarence.

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