Today’s farmers have the newest technology to help boost their harvests. Chemical formulas for drought-resistant crops, fertilizers, and pesticides are just some of the advances that help their corn and soybeans prosper. But agricultural sciences do more than increase crop yield. Those in the agricultural sciences use technology to improve animal and human health, design medical treatments, decrease world hunger, and offer alternative energy sources to keep the world healthier.
In St. Joseph, Missouri, thousands of employees contribute to the agricultural sciences industry. Over 3,000 college graduates work in St. Joseph’s agricultural science industry. St. Joseph is situated in the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, the leading region in the United States for animal health and nutrition research.
While agriculture provides us with nutrition, it also provides us with medicine. In the late 1800s, St. Joseph’s river and railroad made it an ideal location for livestock production. Today the 2,838 employees of Triumph Foods continue this tradition of animal processing, but the city has expanded its role in the agricultural sciences.
St. Joseph is a leader in the nation in animal health and nutrition products with companies like Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc.(BIVI) and Agri-Laboratories, LTD that create veterinary animal pharmaceuticals. Boehringer’s Vetmedica headquarters in St. Joseph employees 838 employees who research, develop, and manufacture animal pharmaceuticals and other health products. More employees will join in improving animal health after the completion of a $150,000,000 expansion plan.
Missouri Western State University’s Christopher S. “Kit” Bond Science and Technology Incubator also helps further research and innovation in animal health. Opened in 2008, this $2.5 million building is part of the Institute for Industrial and Applied Life Sciences and provides research labs for its tenants. Currently, companies like Sopharmia, Inc., DT Search and Designs, LLC, United States Animal Health Association and New Functional Polymers work at the incubator, designing new products to help animals and the agriculture industry.
Agricultural sciences aren’t only beneficial for animals, but for humans, too. According to Thomas Payne, University of Missouri Vice Chancellor and Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, farm animals like cows and pigs can provide more than food on the table. Research shows that pigs can contribute life-saving parts to humans that can help heart surgery and provide skin grafts. Specialists in the agricultural sciences are also researching preventive medicine including ways to help manage obesity and ways to help diabetics overcome insulin resistance.
Through bioenergy, agricultural science is providing fuel, electricity, and heat for millions of Americans. Companies like St. Joseph’s LifeLine Foods and Ag Processing, Inc. (AGP) help turn crops into fuel for human and animal bodies and machines. The cooperatives of AGP represent more than 250,000 farmers in the Midwest. Supporters of biofuel say that it will help reduce dependency on foreign oil and help reduce harmful chemicals produced by fossil fuels.
Agricultural sciences are improving the way that we live from our food to our health to our energy sources. From St. Joseph companies like Becker Underwood that work worldwide with the tiny seeds of agriculture, to companies like Omnium, Albaugh, and HPI that manufacture agricultural chemicals to protect those growing plants, to companies like BIVI and Ag Processing that are continually researching and testing for innovative products, St. Joseph is a community that proves that the agricultural sciences are much more than corn and soybeans.