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Missouri: Real Opportunity for Business
Missouri was recently given an "A" grade and a top ranking in the nation for manufacturing and logistics.
Area Development Online Research Desk (Oct/Nov 08)
(page 3 of 4)
Regional Business Clusters
Missouri is, perhaps more than most states, distinguished by its diversity. It is northern and southern, eastern and western in culture. It is river bottoms and hill country, urban and rural, modern and timeless - all at the same time. Most of all, Missouri is genuine and real in all of its manifestations.

Perhaps it is, at least in part, the geographic diversity that shapes Missouri's economic diversity. In the case of plant sciences, Missouri's geography plays more than a passing role. The rich alluvial soils and warm climate of southeast Missouri allow a wide range of crops - and experimentation with plants such as tobacco as a natural pharmaceutical incubator. Researchers at the University of Missouri's Delta Agricultural Research Center in Portageville (one of a dozen ag research centers in the state) in cooperation with scientists at Monsanto and the Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis are developing new breeds of oil seeds and sorghum that may soon provide non-food raw materials for biodiesel and ethanol. Missouri's hills and valleys provide bio-isolation allowing for the production of experimental crop varieties without the fear of cross pollination - an important attribute in the development of new hybrids.


As strong as the eastern half of the state is in the plant sciences, so is the western half in animal science. Kansas City and the surrounding areas are known as the Animal Science Corridor for good reason. At least a third of the country's animal science industry is clustered within a hundred mile radius of Kansas City.

While life sciences and biotechnology make headlines in Missouri, this sector is only one of eight the state has designated as target industry clusters. See the table below for all of Missouri's target clusters.

While Missouri is home to many successful companies, nine of them made it onto Fortune Magazine's "Fortune 500" list in 2008. Missouri ranked 19th in the country for the number of company headquarters on the list. Many of Missouri's top companies are household names. Emerson Electric, for example, with headquarters in St. Louis and compressor plants in Lebanon and Ava, produces most of the compressors found in home and commercial air conditioning. At over $22.5 billion, Emerson is the state's leading company in terms of revenue.

Anheuser-Busch, under contract for purchase by Belgium's InBev, produces the world's leading beer brands. St. Louis will remain the headquarters for the combined company's North American region and the global home of the flagship Budweiser brand. On a pro-forma basis, the combined company would have had 2007 revenues of $36.4 billion.

Express Scripts delivers prescription pharmaceuticals to patients around the country, while helping companies manage prescription drug costs. The company employs 11,500 with 2007 revenues of $18.3 billion.

Monsanto, located on a 500-acre campus in western St. Louis County has undergone a metamorphosis in recent years. Founded in 1901 by John F. Queeny, the company's original product was saccharine. Instead of calling it the Queeny Saccharin Company, he chose, no doubt wisely, a company name that would honor his wife, the former Olga Monsanto.

Over the next century, Monsanto diversified into chemicals, fibers and consumer products such as carpet. By 1945, the company was producing and marketing agricultural chemicals. In the 1960s Monsanto formed its Agricultural Division and began selling a series of western-themed herbicides including Ramrod, Lasso and, eventually Roundup, which allowed farmers to begin experimenting with reduced-tillage farming.

In 1975, Monsanto opened a cell biology research program and six years later, scientists there became the first to genetically modify a plant cell. In 2000, Monsanto was bought by a pharmaceutical company, then, in 2002, spun off as a separate enterprise, specializing only in agriculture. Today's Monsanto, at $8.6 billion in annual revenues is number 305 on the Fortune 500 and focuses on applying innovation and technology to help the world's farmers produce more and healthier food, feed and fiber. Monsanto is tightly woven into the fabric of plant science research found along the I-70 corridor between St. Louis and Columbia, the home of the University of Missouri.

With both the geographic and population centers of the country within 250 miles, Kansas City benefits from its central location in the United States. That logistics advantage is one reason the tax forms from millions of American funnel into Kansas City for processing. Three thousand KC residents (and as many as 8,300 at tax season) make sure those 1040s are handled quickly and accurately. Another 6,900 KC folks find just the right words and pictures for America to express itself on special occasions. Hallmark Cards was founded in Kansas City in 1910 and remains one of the region's largest employers today.

Over 2,300 Missouri companies contribute in some way to the nation's defense and homeland security agenda led by Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems facilities near Lambert Airport in St. Louis. Here, Boeing produces some of the most advanced aircraft in the world, including the F/A 18 Super Hornet and the F-15E Strike Eagle. Sixteen thousand talented Missouri engineers and craftsmen make sure American military pilots have the safest and best performing aircraft in the world wrapped around them when they strap into the cockpit.

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