A study commissioned by the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the Missouri Farm Bureau shows agriculture is still the top economic industry in the Show-Me State.
It tops the list in Callaway County, as well, according to Bruce Hackmann, economic development director for Callaway County.
"We always say it's the No. 1 industry in Callway County with the volume of revenue it generates," he said.
The study discusses the economic contributions of agriculture, forestry and related industries. Agriculture in this county creates $179.3 million in sales, pays $11.8 million in taxes (federal, state and local) and employs 2,100 people.
The study reports there are 1,417 farms in Callaway County, and the average farm size is 223 acres. Callaway County includes 534,130 acres, and 316,066 acres are farmland. That includes 62,705 acres in woodland, 76,276 acres in pasture, 160,866 in cropland, and 16,219 miscellaneous (other land in farms).
Most farm workers — 1,693 — in Callaway County work in crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries production, according to the study. Another 242 work in ag inputs and services, and 86 work in food and kindred products manufacturing, with 80 more in forestry prroducts manufacturing. Labor income in Callaway County is about $46 million, the study said.
Agricultural products, which include crops, livestock, forestry and fishery production; agriculture inputs and services; food and related products manufacturing and forestry products manufacturing, brought in a whopping $88.4 billion in revenue in 2016.
In addition, agricultural jobs employed more than 378,000 Missourians, who earned a collective $17.5 billion in labor income.
Agricultural companies also contributed $2.2 billion in state and local taxes, and $4 billion in federal taxes.
While crops amounted for a hefty portion of revenue, the biggest contributing industry was food and related products manufacturing. Breweries were the top economic contributors, raking in nearly $3 billion, with oilseed production and pet food manufacturing rounding out the top three, coming in at just over $2 billion each.
Missouri consistently ranks as one of the top performing agricultural economies in the nation. In 2015, the Show-Me state ranked 13th in the United States for gross profit. Missouri ranks in the top five states for number of farms, biodiesel production, beef production, turkey inventory and rice acres harvested.
The report also provided an outlook for future agricultural possibilities in the state. Due to growing consumer interest in locally grown produce, fruit and vegetable production will be in demand. Produce farming provides a good opportunity for a new generation of farmers to get their start, especially with produce farms generally having a smaller geographic footprint.
A link to the entire report is at the Missouri Department of Agriculture website at agriculture.mo.gov/economicimpact/.