Missouri Agriculture Updates: Plant protection. Rural growth plan. Food safety.

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Missouri Agriculture Updates

March 2, 2018

Susan Ehlenbeck

A budding passion for protecting plants

Your Department of Agriculture defends all plants, from hostas and daylillies to sod and nursery stock. Anyone buying a plant in Missouri wants their purchases to be free of pests, so we work directly with nurseries, greenhouses and sod farms to prevent invasive pests from entering our state. Our team focuses on education and outreach first to help those in the horticulture industry identify pests early. It's our goal that by working with business owners to identify pests and best practices, we will naturally take fewer regulatory actions.

Meet Susan Ehlenbeck: Plant Protection Specialist in our Plant Industries division, who has worked in the horticulture industry her entire career. We're thankful to have had her working on our team for the last 20 years. Click here to watch Susan's video.


    Governor Greitens Announces Rural Growth Plan

    Yesterday, Governor Eric Greitens outlined his plan to use newly available funds to bring more jobs and opportunity to rural Missouri. The package focuses on rural broadband, clean water initiatives and infrastructure improvements to ports. 

    “Missouri’s rural communities have been ignored for too long," Governor Greitens said. "I’m proud to put forward this rural growth plan, because I believe Missourians in rural towns across the state need us to invest in and fight for them.”


    This proposal encourages a $45,000,000 investment in rural broadband over the next two years to bring high-speed internet to businesses and homes without quality access. Currently, Missouri is without an accurate picture of the state of rural broadband. While some estimates are available they lack the sophistication and detail necessary to target infrastructure investments in areas with the greatest potential impact. The Governor has proposed allocating $1 million of those funds for a comprehensive mapping project and to produce an estimate of the total cost of bringing broadband to every home and business in Missouri.

    The Governor has also proposed creating a “Rural Broadband Matching Fund.” This fund will provide grants to match private investment for new broadband infrastructure. The Department of Economic Development’s Rural Broadband Office would invest in projects that: (1) bring new service that meets the FCC's current broadband benchmarks into areas that do not have it at all or (2) introduce fiber-optic connections to new areas and (3) are funded primarily by private investment.

    Providers that accept grants would do so on the condition that they are subject to a state claw-back of the grant funds if the project fails to produce as much infrastructure/serve as large of an area as the application indicated, to consist of the type of infrastructure the application indicated (e.g., cable instead of fiber-optics), or to provide speeds at the rate the application indicated.

    Click here to learn more about the Governor's plan


    What you need to know: Food Safety Modernization Act

    The purpose of the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule is to shift food safety regulations from a system that focuses on responding to contamination to one that focuses on preventing them. The rule sets forth procedures, processes and practices that minimize the risks to consumers from eating raw fruit and vegetables that could be contaminated with bacteria, viruses or parasitic organisms that cause food borne illnesses.

    The Missouri Department of Agriculture) is one of 43 states working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through a cooperative agreement to advance efforts for a nationally integrated food safety system.  The Department Produce Safety Program will ensure producers are prepared for the rule by offering producer educational opportunities, producer trainings and On-Farm Readiness Reviews. The Department is working with University of Missouri Extension and Lincoln University Extension to provide numerous training and educational opportunities for growers. Click here to see a list of  opportunities to attend a training on the Produce Safety Rule.  

    Grower training certificates are a mandatory condition to be compliant with the Produce Safety Rule.

    To assist in efficiently implementing the Produce Safety Rule provisions, the Department asks produce growers to register online by clicking here

    Registered producers will be eligible to receive notifications concerning Produce Safety Rule trainings and be eligible for an On-Farm Readiness Review. 

    Click here for more information about the Department’s Program Safety Program

    This Week in Photos

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    This week, we highlight Director Chinn with former Missouri FFA state officers as they collected donations to the Border War Food Drive, the Department's conflict resolution booth at Western Farm Show, Missourians Todd & Sharon Gibson at Commodity Classic and Missouri Farm Bureau's Legislative Banquet.

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