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Fate of agriculture omnibus bill hangs in balance of Governor’s pen

Posted on Sunday, August 13, 2023 at 8:51 pm

A legislative package to help Missouri’s agriculture industry is one of several bills Governor Mike Parson has yet to make up his mind on.

The bill’s sponsor is Rep. Rick Francis, R-Perryville. He says House Bill 202 started out as a repeal of the Industrial Hemp Regulatory Program in Missouri.

“We’re not seeing the same interest in growing industrial hemp as what we were,” according to Francis. “At the time, we have a $750 fee that you had to pay to the Department of Agriculture to plant industrial hemp. House Bill 202 started out as a removal a repeal of the Missouri farm agriculture having authority over the industrial hemp program.”

Biodiesel makes up another of the many moving parts in this agriculture package. Francis says this provision started as an accounting fix to an ethanol and biodiesel bill that was approved during the 2022 Legislative Session.

“So this year they come back and they have that tax credit fix having to do with calendar years and when does the tax credit start and so forth, but the bill did increase the current fiscal yearly cap of $4 million to 5.5 million for biodiesel,” says Francis.

The bill would also remove the requirement for the Department of Revenue to dish out tax credits among the state’s biodiesel producers applying for the credits.

Francis says that Missouri is looking into its crystal ball, hoping the next generation of farmers will step up and carry the state’s agriculture industry in the future. That’s why the Missouri Legislature proposed exempting income taxes for a beginning farmer as part of this wide sweeping agriculture omnibus bill.

“Because the average age of a farmer is about 57 years old, and this legislation would allow an income tax deduction for landowners who want to sell, perhaps even lease, their property with a beginning farmer and certainly this incentivization would help bring in a new generation of beginning farmers,” Francis states.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.