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.”