Eight counties | 36 cities | one region

a voluntary council of local governments
serving the missouri meramec area.

Naturally Meramec Consortium will host first regional meeting on Aug. 25 in St. James Peter Hofherr will present as guest speaker

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Connie Willman or Roxie Murphy at (573) 265-2993

ST. JAMES­­—Naturally Meramec Consortium (NMC), a collection of small agriculture/tourism business owners who work together to find ways to market and use each other’s products and services, will host Peter Hoefherr as guest speaker at the first regional meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 25 at Meramec Regional Planning Commission, 4 Industrial Drive, St. James, to discuss how NMC may assist with marketing agriculture and tourism businesses.

Guest speaker at the meeting will be Peter Hofherr, CEO of St. James Winery and former director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Hofherr initiated the Naturally Meramec concept and will discuss his vision with Meramec region business owners.

Connie Willman, NMC administrator, will discuss current marketing opportunities with attendees.
“This and future consortium meetings will include discussions centered around needs of the agriculture/tourism businesses, including additional markets, financing, food hubs, training, education and business planning, among others.”

Willman has lead discussion at eight previous meeting to bring communities together.

“The 600-plus agriculture and tourism businesses in the Meramec Region work very hard to produce their products or provide a service to customers,” Willman said in her invitation to business owners. “MRPC is forming the Naturally Meramec consortium with the intention of assisting these businesses in finding and developing new markets within the industry clusters.”

NMC is planning an interactive website to feature consortium members to potential customers. As envisioned, travelers will be able to input a route they will travel and find farms, ranches, wineries, breweries and restaurants to visit along the way. A brochure will also be produced that promotes consortium members.

The consortium is in its early stages of organization and has already held initial meetings in Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties.

Many of the agriculture/tourism-related entities have their own associations, such as the Missouri Grape Growers Association, Missouri Pork Association or Missouri Restaurant Association. However, there is no organization in which agriculture/tourism business owners can meet together to find ways to market and use each other’s products. NMC will cross over the “silos” to form a group working for the benefit of all.

MRPC had identified nearly 600 agriculture/tourism-related businesses in the eight-county Meramec Region. Ranchers, farmers, wine-producers, restaurant owners and lodging entities will meet together regularly to work on ways to promote and use the products of the other consortium members, such as a farm tour event with featured wines, cheeses and meat products from other agriculture/tourism businesses in the region.

Meetings will include discussion on marketing, training, social media, food hubs and other important topics as identified by the group.

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 21, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion.