ST. LOUIS – A delegation of congressional staffers representing districts from across the country are headed to St. Louis for the 2017 AgMazing Congressional Tour Wednesday, August 23 through Friday, August 25, 2017.
Sponsored by the St. Louis Agribusiness Club and supported by BioSTL, the three-day tour will highlight the booming business of agriculture in the St. Louis metropolitan region, focusing on agriculture’s role as an economic driver for the St. Louis region and country as a whole, as it provides feed, food, fuel and fiber in an efficient, safe and affordable manner.
In the 15-county St. Louis region, the agriculture industry contributes $18.6 billion to the economy and supports nearly 179,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs according to a 2015 study. St. Louis, recently deemed the "Ag Coast" of the nation for delivering the highest level of grain barge handling capacity anywhere along the Mississippi River, is the heartland of agriculture production, innovation and infrastructure that is vital to meeting the country’s needs.
Some of that innovation is happening in the heart of the City, while you don’t have to travel far to see farm production and infrastructure that supports the region and the nation. The 2017 AgMazing Congressional staffers will connect with farmers and business leaders to foster collaboration around the impact labor and immigration policy, infrastructure improvements, and regulatory issues have on the industry.
Over the course of three days, congressional staffers will see the value chain in action, from infrastructure and farms to research facilities and companies, like Purina and Anheuser-Busch.
“The ag industry, across a diverse value chain, feeds and fuels the world and is a primary economic driver for St. Louis, as well as the United States,” said Matt Amick, board member of the St. Louis Agribusiness Club Missouri. “St. Louis gets a lot of attention for burgeoning technology, and a lot of that is happening in the ag space. St. Louis is a world-leading center for agriculture – from research to the field, through the distribution chain and onto our table and into our fuels – and we are proud to show that off to congressional staffers so that they become familiar with the needs and challenges of the agriculture industry.”
BioSTL, a leader and co-founder of the Innovation Advocacy Council, also champions ag and innovation policy at the national level and helps to bridge the urban/rural divide. BioSTL will lead a panel discussion at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center at 1 p.m. Wednesday, August 23rd, highlighting St. Louis’s position as the plant science capital of the world. Panelists include representatives from:
Together, the group will discuss the importance of plant science research and technology development in the areas of food security, crop improvement, sustainability and bioenergy. They also will highlight the importance of funding for research and creating opportunities for turning research into new companies as a key to success. For example, at BioSTL a federal i6 grant helped its investment arm BioGenerator to build Apse. And, the Small Business Administration was instrumental in helping St. Louis to build the nationally-recognized bioscience cluster that attracted both KWS from Germany and NewLeaf Symbiotics from Boston.
“Smart policies are critical to maintain the U.S. and St. Louis’ global leadership in agriculture, which includes funding for research and infrastructure and sound policy on regulatory framework, immigration and trade,” said Ben Johnson, VP of Programs at BioSTL. “We want our guests to leave with an understanding of the importance agriculture has on our economy and how St. Louis serves as a global leader across the value chain.”
Congressional staffers from the following states are joining the AgMazing Tour:
10 a.m. – Lock and Dam 25, 10 Sandy Slough Rd., Winfield, MO
1 p.m. – Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, New Theatre, 975 N. Warson Rd., St. Louis, MO
2 p.m. – BRDG Park, 1005 N. Warson Rd., St. Louis, MO
3:30 p.m. – Warren Stemme Farm, 165 River Valley Dr., St. Louis, MO
8:15 a.m. – Bunge-SCF, 651 N. Front St., East St. Louis, IL 62201
10:15 a.m. – Elm Farms, 15542 Bottom Prairie Rd., Okawville, IL
2:15 p.m. – Terayne Ag Specialties, 3911 State Route 15, Venedy, IL
4 p.m. – Eckert’s, 951 S. Green Mount Rd., Belleville, IL
8:15 a.m. – Purina PetCare, 801 Choteau Ave, St. Louis, MO
10:45 a.m. – Anheuser-Busch Brewery, 12th and Lynch Sts., St. Louis, MO
*Reporters are invited to join any part of the tour with a courtesy RSVP to Maggie Crane at 314.422.6783 or email@example.com.