The world of politics can be frustrating, enraging or just plain confusing. If you feel any or all of these emotions toward politics, you aren’t alone. But, always remember that no matter how maddening it is, stay an active, informed citizen. Whether that is paying attention to the ever-entertaining presidential race or involved in your local school board election, always remember that if you aren’t at the table, you could easily find yourself on the menu.
As the state legislative session wrapped up for the year on May 13, I was reminded what it looks like outside the statehouse during the daytime. Many late nights and early mornings for conference committees, hearings or breakfast meetings will keep a lobbyist busy.
This year Missouri Farm Bureau (MFB) pushed to prevent a property tax hike from going into effect on Missouri farmland. With farm income dropping more than 30 percent in one year and price projections for all major commodities remaining dismal for many years to come, buffering our farming operations as much as possible has become critical. MFB tried to put Missouri farmers in the best position to weather the storm ahead by advocating for programs that will add value to our agricultural commodities, improve the regulatory environment and invest in our infrastructure. MFB worked to bring down unnecessary and harmful barriers, provide financial aid to students interested in returning to the farm, improve access to high quality healthcare in rural areas and increase agricultural research in the state. We are proud to say many of these objectives were accomplished.
Recognizing the importance of having a seat and voice at the table is nothing new to MFB. Missouri agriculture realized the importance of their voice back in 1915, when a group of farmers got together to form the first county and then state Farm Bureau. It had a dedicated employee to help legislators understand what the agriculture industry in the state needed, whether that was paved roads, tax reform or education funding. One hundred years later that need is still present, perhaps even stronger than ever. It is downright scary to think what might have happened over the years had organizations like Missouri Farm Bureau and their members not been involved in the political process.
No matter how maddening, frustrating or confusing it may be to you, keep your place at the table by being an educated voter, an informed citizen and an active constituent. As I think about it, agriculture always wants to be on a menu, the dinner menu. Unfortunately if we lose our seat at the table of politics, we’ll soon find ourselves on the political menu.