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New resources boost Missouri specialty agriculture sector

New resources boost Missouri specialty agriculture sector

By Blake Jackson

University of Missouri Extension is giving Missouri's urban and specialty agriculture producers a boost. They've released new business planning resources specifically tailored to these growing sectors.

These resources include interactive budgets for various specialty crops, like high tunnel tomatoes, hydroponic greens, microgreens, and Lisianthus cut flowers, along with beekeeping and controlled-environment agriculture. The budgets consider 2024 market prices, production estimates, input costs, and even equipment ownership expenses. The resources are available in Urban Agriculture.

"These budgets were created to help producers assess the viability and long-term success of their ventures," explains Juo-Han Tsay, MU Extension agricultural economist. "We collaborated with experts and Missouri producers to ensure realistic pricing and production assumptions, giving users confidence in their business planning."

Similar to existing resources for traditional crops and livestock, these new budgets are also customizable, says Ryan Milhollin, another MU Extension agricultural economist. "Whether you're starting a new beekeeping operation or considering scaling up an existing one, these budgets provide valuable insights into the resources and investments needed," he explains.

Manita Ale, an MU Extension agricultural business specialist, emphasizes the importance of these resources. "Urban producers and those looking to diversify their offerings need readily available tools for sound business planning," she says. "MU Extension is committed to providing the knowledge and support needed to turn ideas into thriving specialty agriculture businesses."

The benefits extend beyond producers themselves. These resources also empower agribusinesses and partner organizations to better support Missouri agriculture. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's St. Louis Urban Service Center utilizes these tools to assist urban producers in launching or expanding their operations.

"MU Extension's resources allow us to offer superior customer service and efficiently process loan applications," says Kallie Turner, a USDA Farm Service Agency loan manager. "The knowledge and data provided bridge gaps in our expertise and enable informed decision-making."

By equipping Missouri's agricultural community with these valuable resources, MU Extension is fostering a vibrant and sustainable specialty agriculture sector within the state.

Photo Credit: istock-azmanjaka

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