MDA director Chinn shares insights on Missouri agriculture with Columbia business group

Business leaders from the Columbia area gathered on Monday, Oct. 29, from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. to hear from Chris Chinn, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Chinn shared her thoughts about many challenges currently facing the agricultural industry in  Missouri and nationwide.

The Food for Thought seminar was held at MFA Incorporated in Columbia, Missouri, and sponsored by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness and Biosciences Committee.

“The purpose of this group is to help support and stimulate growth of agribusinesses and biosciences,” said Rebecca Mott, who serves as a member of the committee. “We also aim to build awareness in the community regarding how agricultural issues impact the quality of life, the economy, and the area’s bioscience and agriculture industry.”

The event began with a buffet-style breakfast, followed by a greeting with a little about the event and breakfast sponsors and the introduction of guest speaker Chinn.

“It’s a great time to be a part of Missouri agriculture,” Chinn said early in her presentation, catching the attention of many audience members. Chinn went on to talk about many problems currently facing the agriculture industry in Missouri such as the lack of internet connection in rural areas and state budget cuts being made to the Department of Agriculture.

“Internet access is vital to us to revitalize our rural communities,” Chinn said.

Although budget cuts are a concern, Chinn reassured attendees that she will fight for what she believes is best for the industry.

“So while I’ve been asked to find a way to reduce my budget, please know that I will look for a way, but I’m going to scream and yell the whole way about it,” she said.

“Budget cuts are never easy, but she is setting priorities to help her determine where cuts have to be made,” Mott said. 

Overall, the Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness and Biosciences Committee felt the event was a success, with approximately 60 people in attendance.

“We were very pleased with the turnout,” Mott said. “Many people commented that they were excited about the opportunity to hear from Director Chinn.”

Amberlee Gandy

About the Author Amberlee Gandy

Hi! My name is Amberlee Gandy and I am a freshman at the University of Missouri pursuing a degree in agricultural education and leadership. I am excited to start my experience at Mizzou and to learn new things that will prepare me for my future. I grew up in the country in Gower, Missouri, but I never lived on a farm. Gower is a small town of about 1,500 people north of Kansas City. Although I do not have a background in farming, my connection to agriculture started at a young age. I practically grew up in the ag building at our school, spending late nights there with my mom. With my experience in FFA, I discovered a newfound love for communication, speaking, and helping others gain confidence in themselves so that they can also grow and find a love for the field that changed my life.