The Morgan County Commissioners are pro-agriculture. The Commissioners passed a special resolution this morning to acknowledge and support the biggest sector in the county this morning.
The resolution was presented by Cass-Morgan Farm Bureau President Dale Hadden and Manager Lindsay Ryan. Hadden, who owns and operates nearly 7,000 acres near Jacksonville, says now was the right time to promote agriculture in Morgan County: “The state organization started this project last winter about getting a resolution in front of our county commissioners just reinforcing the fact that ag plays a very vital part of the economy in all of these rural counties downstate. We felt like the timing was right to get the resolution passed here in the early part of March because National Agriculture Month is the month of March. It’s the perfect time to publicly state the fact that we are here promoting agriculture 365 days a year with all of the activity we do throughout the counties. We felt like now is a good time to do that.”
According to the resolution, there are 693 farms in the county that support 2,551 jobs, which accounts for an estimated 13% of the total jobs in Morgan County. It says that agriculture and related industries generate total sales or output estimated at $880.7 million, and farm property provides 25% of taxable value, which helps to pay for vital county services and schools.
Hadden says it’s important to remind local people of agriculture’s significance: “Sometimes people take things for granted because they see it every day, and they live it, and they don’t realize its importance. We want to reinforce [ag’s significance] with the community that we’re here and we’re a viable part of the organizational parts of the county. We provide services. We want them to realize that this is important not only for producing the food and fiber, but also, for the fact the amount of jobs it brings to the county.”
Hadden says that the local farm bureau isn’t just for farmers: “We gladly welcome anyone. We have different membership classifications. They can call Lindsay at the office and she would be happy to sign them up. They’ll get our monthly and weekly publications…We encourage anybody that’s willing to help listen to what we are trying to promote within agriculture. We’ll gladly welcome them with open arms.”
The resolution says that citizens of the county can get involved in multiple levels at the farm bureau and in agriculture whether that’s business, politics, or the environment. The county commissioners passed the resolution unanimously and with resounding support.