Rural Missouri - May 2013 - (Page 5)
Hart to Heart
Excitement building in rural Missouri
by Barry Hart
ravelling around the state visiting with rural people, I feel
a new sense of excitement. It’s
much more than the blooming of redbuds and dogwoods that
signals spring is truly here. People are
excited about the potential of living
and doing business in rural Missouri.
Part of it stems from Missouri’s
business-friendly attitude. In 2010,
Gov. Jay Nixon spoke at the annual
meeting of the Association of Missouri
Electric Cooperatives. He predicted
the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act,
passed by the legislature and signed
into law by the governor that summer, would lead to an increase in jobs.
Gov. Nixon was right. On the coattails of recent historic expansions
by Ford in Claycomo and General
Motors in Wentzville, Missouri is seeing a wave of new jobs supplying auto
parts. The most recent is Adrian Steel,
which announced in April it would
locate a new facility in Kansas City.
In the past year and a half, six other auto-supply companies expanded
their operations in Perryville, Mexico,
Liberty, St. Peters, New Haven and
Joplin. These companies invested
$154 million in the expansions and
created 753 new jobs.
No doubt we will be reading about
more stories like this in the future.
What really excites me, however,
are the rural entrepreneurs who have
figured out new ways to earn a living
from their land. You read about these
people every month in the pages of
One fine example of what I mean
can be found in Higbee,
where Howard Electric
Dale Kirby makes barrels from Missouri white
oak. While most of
these barrels go to California, these days his
son is keeping a good
number of these barrels
here for use in his Cooper’s Oak Winery.
industry is truly flourishing, with 120 wineries now open.
This month, you can read about
two Platte-Clay Electric members, Tom
Ruggieri and Rebecca Graff, who have
a novel approach to farming. They
raise vegetables on land that has been
in her family for generations. But
instead of wrapping this produce in
plastic and shipping to distant lands,
they hand deliver it to the end user.
What a great concept, knowing firsthand the person who
planted the seeds! If you
haven’t stopped at a
farmers market before,
make this the summer
you discover AgriMissouri products.
Now that warmer
weather is here, I am
looking forward to
wetting a hook in a
Missouri lake or trout
stream. Anywhere cool
springs flow, you can
“Let’s all make a point of spending more
time close to home, sampling Missouri-made
products and enjoying the hospitality of our
find public and private opportunities
to catch a lunker trout.
This summer, I am anxious to test
the waters of Bull Shoals Lake, where
White River Valley Electric Director
Bill Cook runs a marina on the lake.
While we’ll tell you more about this
resort in a future issue, I can assure
you that the photos I’ve seen of fish
landed near Bill’s docks have made me
forget all about deep-sea fishing.
As I travel, I keep my Rural Missouri
“Out of the Way Eats” guide in my
glovebox. It’s led me to many amazing
dining experiences. What impresses
me the most is how friendly these
places are and how much fun their
guests seem to have.
There’s so much beauty in Missouri, whether it’s on the water, a trail
or in a small town. Let’s all make a
point of spending more time close to
home, sampling Missouri-made products and enjoying the hospitality of
Visit the Missouri Division of
Tourism’s website at www.visitmo.
com for lots of trip ideas. You also
can check out www.agrimissouri.
com for the location of the nearest
Hart is the executive vice president of
the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.
Support the art of summer
by Diana Moxon
s the weather gets warmer
and spring turns into early
summer, art festivals bloom
like a host of perennial
daffodils in towns and cities across
Missouri. We take their arrival for
granted, like the return of the hummingbirds, but should we?
Like most everything else in modern life, economics is hidden in the
For many of the artists who spend
the summer transporting their artwork around the Midwest, setting
up their white tents every weekend
in one city after another, the festival
months are when they earn the bulk
of their annual income. Festivals are
how they pay the mortgage and send
their kids to school.
What the festival visitor sees is the
tip of the iceberg of a winter’s worth
of labor designing new work, buying art supplies, creating inventory,
applying to shows and scheduling
thousands of miles of travel crisscrossing the Midwest. Hidden, too, are the
years of education, trial, error and the
pursuit of perfection that goes into
every item in an artist’s booth.
The economic reality is that artists
can scant afford to sit at a festival all
weekend long and not sell anything.
Not only do they have the cost of
their inventory tied up at each festival, but also the cost of the booth fee,
accommodation, gas and food.
As a festival organizer, I am all too aware of
the importance of providing the visiting artists with an art-buying
crowd. In the past few
years, numerous small
and even large annual
art festivals have closed
up shop because of
dwindling artist applications. The festivals
that have survived the
economic turmoil of
the past few years are
the ones where the art-
ists know they can achieve a return on
Of course, times have been hard for
everyone, and at a time when many
people are struggling to feed their
families, artists and organizers do not
expect people to make “luxury” purchases.
But for those who
have even a small
amount of discretionary income, the arrival
of an annual art festival
is a chance to shop for
Christmas and birthday
gifts or do something
as simple as buy a new
handmade butter dish
or a pair of earrings.
Every small purchase
helps to ensure a festival’s survival.
For businesses large
“For businesses large and small, an art festival
is a real opportunity to support the cultural life
of the community.”
and small, an art festival is a real
opportunity to support the cultural
life of the community.
Sizeable businesses might be able
to set an annual art purchase budget
and invest in a $500 painting each
year. A company that gives out annual
employee awards could opt to spend
its award budget on a unique, handmade glass bowl or a steel flower that
could be engraved with an employee’s
Even a small five-person business
could make a difference by buying
one-of-a-kind coffee mugs for the
So, if you’re on the fence about
visiting your local art festival this
summer, or if as a business owner you
extol the cultural life of your community, remember that it’s only by
people turning up and spending even
a few dollars that we all get to have
our communities enriched by these
wonderful summer events.
Moxon is the executive director of the
Columbia Art League.
The 55th annual Art in the Park,
organized by the Columbia Art League,
will take place June 1-2 at Stephens Lake
Park in Columbia. More can be found at
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - May 2013
Rural Missouri - May 2013
Table of Contents
Chronicle of the corncob pipe
Missouri Snapshots contest
The family that drills together
Out of the Way Eats
Where bluegrass grows
Hearth and Home
Veggies and vision
Rural Missouri - May 2013