Many topics were covered in two short days during Missouri Farm Bureau’s annual Legislative Briefing and Commodity Conference February 27-28 in Jefferson City.
Farmers and ranchers heard from Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, Speaker of the House Todd Richardson, as well as the agriculture committee chairs from both chambers, Senator Brian Munzlinger and Representative Jay Houghton. Joining legislators speaking to the group was Representative Craig Redmon, chairman of the House Agriculture Appropriation Committee. New Lt. Governor Mike Parson and Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn also talked about their efforts under new Governor Eric Greitens. The underlying theme among all of them was executive and legislative work to reduce the number of regulations inhibiting small business growth. Budget constraints will also require state government to tighten spending in many areas, including agriculture.
Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst opened the conference, telling the farmers gathered how important it was for them to interact with their elected officials. The group met one-on-one with their legislators during a Monday evening dinner at Missouri Farm Bureau headquarters, and again Tuesday morning at the Capitol.
The talk was not all political. Farmers love to talk about markets and weather and they heard from the best on those subjects; Darrell Holaday, president of Advanced Market Concepts, and Dr. Elwynn Taylor, extension climatologist at Iowa State University.
They also got a glimpse into the future of combating diseases in livestock. Dr. Randell Prather, curator’s professor at the University of Missouri, discussed ground breaking research in genetic engineering used to fight porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome in pigs.
During the conference, Farm Bureau members also met to conduct business on district FARM-PAC and commodity advisory committees.
Audrain County Farm Bureau members attending the Monday evening dinner with their legislators were Brent Erisman, Clarissa Cauthorn, Jerry Johnson, Carol Fischer, Dale Fischer, Barb Wilson, and Bruce Wilson, who were joined by Representative Jay Houghton.