“The area has become a major center for food processing companies – particularly meat — as well as animal pharmaceuticals,” said Joel Kotkin, in his article. “It’s a major hub along the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, where nearly a third of the $19 billion global animal health industry is concentrated.”
The article showcased this topic to bring light to a sometimes overlooked part of our national economy.
“We consume their products every day but economists give them little attention, and perhaps not enough respect,” Mr. Kotkin said. “Yet America’s agriculture sector is not only the country’s oldest economic pillar but still a vital one, accounting for some 3.75 million jobs – not only in the fields, but in factories, laboratories and distribution. That compares to 4.3 million in the tech sector.”
The article cited statistics like the following for St. Joseph’s agriculture industry:
Agribusiness Job Growth, 2004-14: 159.9
Agribusiness Jobs, 2014: 5,333
Share Of Total Jobs In Area: 8.6%
Average Annual Wages: $44,800
Wage Increase, 2004-14: 11.9%
“St. Joseph is very proud of its agribusiness and animal pharmaceutical companies,” said R. Patt Lilly, president and CEO of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce. “Our nation’s economy is strongly based in agriculture, so for Forbes to list St. Joseph as its fourth-strongest agribusiness region is a much-deserved pat on the back to our companies and employees in these fields.”
Food processors like Triumph Foods, Hillshire Brands, LifeLine Foods, Ventura Foods and Ag Processing Inc. (AGP) highlight this important business cluster in St. Joseph’s economy. Animal health companies like Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., Nestle Purina Petcare, Star Labs, Biozyme Inc., Ameri-Pac, Inc., Vedco, Clipper Distributing and Protein Inc. help keep livestock and other animals healthy.
“These companies are a major component that makes St. Joseph the third largest exporter in the state of Missouri,” Mr. Lilly said. “Our companies keep growing and increasing employee wages, which helps all parts of our local economy.”
Mr. Kotkin, executive editor of newgeography.com, wrote the article with Mark Schill, head of research for Praxis Strategy Group. The men analyzed the performance of the nation’s largest 124 agriculture economies and put together a list of the strongest ones. They ranked the 124 metropolitan statistical areas based on short- and long-term job growth (2004-14 and 2012-14) in 68 agriculture-related industries (including food processing and manufacturing, wholesaling and farm equipment), average earnings in these communities, earnings growth, and the share of agribusiness in the local workforce.
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