Governor Jay Nixon says too many cattle are being raised in Missouri only to be processed elsewhere.

Photo courtesy; Larry Braun and the Missouri Department of Agriculture

Photo courtesy; Larry Braun and the Missouri Department of Agriculture

“We’re a state that has 1.7-million cows but we only finish 75-thousand of them. That means well over $1-billion of value that could be gained by Missourians is instead gained by folks in other areas,” Nixon said after speaking to FFA students in Centralia on Wednesday.

Nixon has called a summit for January 5 at the University of Missouri, where he wants stakeholders to come up with strategies for maximizing Missouri’s cattle industry and spurring economic development in rural areas.

He said he wants to see more cattle finished in Missouri, but he wants it done, “in a way that protects the water and air of our area, but I think a lot of gains have been made in this country in the last 20 years on how to do that. We then need to be able to harvest them here so that we can put the types of cuts out there that we can sell internationally for a premium, and then that last piece is we need to brand. Missouri farmers are the best in the world, and if we can use that sustainability and that genetics and that technology to continue to project our products worldwide, we’ll get a premium for that work.”

Nixon said part of his goal is to create opportunities for more young people to stay in Missouri, so that fewer of them will leave the state seeking jobs in the ag sector.

“We all know of the challenge of rural Missouri getting older and population moving. We think adding value to each of these farms, giving another option in the business model to add value and profit in rural Missouri and our state is something that can strengthen not only the economy of a given business or a given farm but also these rural economies,” said Nixon.

He said finding ways to strengthen the rural economy benefits urban residents as well.

For more information on the beef summit and to register, visit the Department of Agriculture’s website here.

Kyle Hill, KRES, contributed to this story