Governor Parson, Congressman Cleaver Join to Support Missouri Farmers, Ranchers, and Agribusinesses

 — Today, Governor Mike Parson joined Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn, and various agriculture leaders to explore the benefits of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to Missouri agriculture during a grain elevator tour of Missouri’s 5th Congressional District. 

The tour, which stretched from Marshall into the heart of Kansas City by way of the Kansas City Southern’s Southern Belle train, was hosted by the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City.

“Our state, including the farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness that build up Missouri’s economy every day, needs USMCA to be ratified,” Governor Parson said. “Our leaders in Washington are all doing important work by ensuring that this deal is the right deal for America, and Missouri is ready to see it cross the finish line.”    

Missouri’s 5th District is known for its immense contribution to Missouri agriculture – nearly 26,000 jobs and $7.5 billion in sales. The district is not only home to more than 3,700 farms that canvass 1.1 million acres of land, but agribusiness and manufacturing also thrive in the area. One out of five manufacturing firms in Missouri currently exports to Canada and Mexico, 71 percent of which are small- and medium-sized businesses.

“We must do everything possible to work out any and all kinks that would derail what could be beneficial to the 5th District of Missouri and the nation,” Congressman Cleaver said. 

Agriculture exports support more than 1.2 million American jobs. In Missouri alone, agriculture employs nearly 400,000 citizens. Mexico and Canada purchase nearly 65 percent of agriculture exports from the United States. 

According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, an independent and bipartisan agency, full implementation of USMCA would increase agricultural exports to the world by $2.2 billion.  

“When farmers and ranchers thrive, the businesses and communities around them grow and remain strong,” Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn said. “USMCA is a bright spot for Missouri agriculture, maintaining zero tariffs with our neighbors, providing better market access for certain commodities, and offering biotechnology protections that support 21st century agriculture.”

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the World Trade Center – Kansas City hosted a roundtable discussion immediately following the grain elevator tour. The following leaders representing several businesses, cooperatives, and organizations participated in the conversation: 

  • Governor Mike Parson, State of Missouri
  • Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, 5th Congressional District
  • Chris Chinn, Missouri Department of Agriculture Director
  • Joe Reardon, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
  • Pat Ottensmeyer, Kansas City Southern
  • Stuart Shaw, Black & Veatch
  • Jeff Krum, Boulevard Brewing Company
  • Andrew Etkind, Garmin
  • Sarah Moe, Hallmark
  • Ray Kowalik, Burns & McDonnell
  • Beau Heppler, Ray-Carroll Elevator
  • Jim Edwards, Ray-Carroll Elevator
  • Greg Bertz, Ray-Carroll Elevator
  • John Graverson, Ray-Carroll County Grain Growers
  • Billy Thiel, Missouri Corn Growers Association
  • John Fletcher, Central Missouri AGRIService LLC
  • Don Schlesselman, MFA Incorporated
  • Craig Childs, MFA Incorporated
  • Kris Denzel, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Agriculture is an $88.4 billion industry in Missouri, remaining the backbone of the state’s economy. To learn more, visit