MERIC & MoDOT Partnership Shows Transportation is Key in Agriculture Industry

Good transportation access and connectivity is vital to industry health and is often sited as a top location requirement. MERIC and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) recently partnered to report on the economic activity of the agriculture industry in Missouri.

MoDOT can better plan for transportation improvements by gaining insight into major industries within the state that have distinct transportation needs. Whether it is by road, rail or river, transportation is a key component of the agriculture industry in Missouri.

Data gathered and analyzed by MERIC for the MoDOT partnership showed the significance of agriculture to Missouri's economy.

Agriculture is typically divided into three sectors for economic analysis: farm production, farm-related industries, and indirect agribusiness. Most recent data from the 2002 Census of Agriculture illustrates their impact on Missouri's economy.

Missouri farm production, agribusiness, and indirect agribusiness accounted for over 560,000 jobs in 2002, representing 16 percent of the state's employment. In rural areas, these industries represent almost a quarter of all employment (24%). Farm production itself in rural Missouri accounted for about ten percent of all employment in 2002.

A strong farm sector is necessary for agribusiness to thrive in Missouri. Agribusinesses, such as agriculture support services and food processing/marketing firms, are more concentrated in Missouri than in the rest of the U.S.

MERIC analysis of 2006 agribusiness data further demonstrates the importance of farming and farm-related industries in Missouri.

The Location Quotient for Missouri is 1.19 which indicates that the state is more concentrated in the agribusiness industry than the rest of the U.S. Anything above 1.0 indicates industry specialization above U.S. averages.

2006 Agribusiness Location Quotient

Top Commodities 
Along with transportation opportunities, other regional factors such as fertility of land and easy access to water resources often determine agriculture location. Cattle and dairy commodities can be found throughout much of the southern half of the state, while grains are more predominant in the northern half.


Number of Farms 
Missouri is second only to Texas in the number of farms and is a top ten agricultural employing state. Despite the trend toward corporate farming, Missouri remains a family-farm state with an average farm size around 287 acres. The average farm size in the U.S. is 441 acres.


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