David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
2400 S. Scenic Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807
417-881-8909
FAX 417-881-8058
burtond@missouri.edu

January 12, 2017


"Agriculture is Important for Everyone to Understand,"
Says MU Extension Specialist

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missourians need to be knowledgeable about the sources of our food and fiber products. Recent research and surveys show most Americans are not according to David Burton, civic communication specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

"This lack of knowledge about agriculture can affect public policy that directly impacts both producers and consumers. That means having an agriculturally literate society is important," said Burton.

As the U.S. public continues to lose its connection with production agriculture, the role of the mass media in conveying agricultural information grows.

"Research also shows that consumers are primarily informed about agriculture through mass media sources," said Burton. "But there are many resources available from MU Extension that can educate people about the role of agriculture in their lives."

ECONOMIC IMPACT

Members of the public also need to have an appreciation of the economic impact of agriculture.

"Most people don't know or don't realize how agriculture makes our communities better economically," said Burton

According to a new Missouri Department of Agriculture study, agriculture, forestry, and related industries in Missouri during 2016 contributed an $88.4 billion economic impact, 378,232 jobs, $17.5 billion in labor income, $2.2 billion in state/local taxes and $4 billion in federal taxes.

Agricultural, forestry and related industries support 64,666 jobs in Congressional District 7 (southwest Missouri). Additionally, these industries contribute $16 billion in sales, which translates to $5.2 billion in added value to the area after $10.8 billion worth of inputs are purchased. Of this $5.2 billion, $3.0 billion is comprised of labor income. Tax revenues generated by the agricultural, forestry and related industries in Congressional District 7 are $1.0 billion.

Agriculture is also a multi-billion-dollar industry in Missouri, and it touches the life of every resident. To learn more about the impact of agriculture on your specific county, go online to http://agriculture.mo.gov/economicimpact/.

LOCAL EDUCATION

Missourians can also learn more about the impact of agriculture by attending one of many MU Extension educational programs. A listing of agriculture programs statewide can be found on the calendar at http://extension.missouri.edu.

For southwest Missouri, a list of local agriculture programs (including information about each county soils and crops conference) can be found at htt://extension.missouri.edu/greene.

Local county extension offices can also answer questions able upcoming agriculture programs.


Source: David Burton, civic communication specialist

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