The 2012 Missouri Governor's Conference on Agriculture was held in Kansas City, Mo. Jan. 19-21. In the 43 years of the conference this was the first time it was held in Kansas City and Missouri Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler was very pleased with this year's conference.
"You know it's such a rich agriculture heritage here in Kansas City with the stockyards and the Kansas City Board of Trade," Hagler said. "And you look right here with the Animal Health Corridor, over 200 companies that are focused on the ag industry, and five of the top 10 largest animal health companies in the world are here and I think it is just a wonderful tribute to our state, to our region and it's time we had a great time in Kansas City and we certainly have done that."
The theme for this year's Governor's Conference was Think Outside the Barn, a message that Hagler says is very important as for agriculture.
"I think this is what agriculture needs to do differently as we move forward, to embrace the new challenges that we are going to face in the future," Hagler said. "We are great at what we do, particularly in production agriculture, there are no better farmers in the entire world but we need to do a much better job relating to the consumer. And relating to other constituencies to let them know how important food production is and how important what American farmers do to put good, healthy affordable food on their table and that it certainly makes a difference for their families."
There were a lot of very interesting sessions at this year's conference ranging from the future of agricultural research, to managing Missouri's rivers, and the impact of international marketing. One session that Hagler was particularly pleased to moderate was a panel of state commissioners, secretaries and directors of agriculture. Over 20% of the nation's state ag executives were in attendance at the conference.
"They are the brightest folks I've ever worked with, the directors, secretaries, and commissioners from as far east as Vermont and as far west as Wyoming," Hagler said. "Just a great group of folks who understand the importance that agriculture plays not only in their state but in our nation, and to have that panel discussion and talk about the issues we all face regardless of what part of the country we come from was just a tremendous asset for here. I think it was a highlight of the Governor's Conference and a real honor for me to host those folks, because they are indeed the future of agriculture and I look for a lot of those guys to end up as governors in their states and that will be good for agriculture as well."