Missouri legislative priorities for agriculture
The Missouri Farm Bureau supports a number of legislative efforts this session to improve agriculture in the state. Farm Bureau President Garrett Hawkins hosted a recent legislative update with Governor Parson and Ag Director Chris Chinn. Parson, through his budget proposal, is seeking $5-Million dollars to expand broadband internet access in Missouri, “When that pandemic hit we seen and know we have a lot more to do in rural Missouri for broadband. And we’ve got to step our game up to be able to compete on the marketplaces, to be able to do your farming.”
Director Chinn says they are asking for supplemental funding for the Missouri State Fair which was scaled back to a livestock only show last year because of the pandemic, “We are currently seeking at $1.6 Million supplemental spending bill for the State Fair to be able to get us to the state fair and through the 2021 State Fair so that it’s normal like we’re used to seeing when you go to the state fairgrounds.”
Chinn says they’re seeking upgrades to the state feed and seed lab to increase the turnaround for farmers, “And actually add in a new piece of equipment that will allow us to do more testing in-state instead of having to outsource it to other states like Iowa.”
Chinn says the department is also seeking renewal of the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority tax credits, five of which expire this year, “Many of you are very familiar with MASBDA. It’s kind of the financial arm of the Department of Agriculture. But our tax credits are up for renewal this year and so we need the legislative authority to be able to do that.”
And, Chinn says the department needs a legislative fix to update its pesticide certification and training program to be compliant with new EPA rules and regulations.