JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The farm bill, property rights, healthcare and the expansion of I-70 were among the issues debated at the 108th Missouri Farm Bureau (MOFB) annual meeting December 4-6 at the Lake of the Ozarks. More than 1,300 farmers and ranchers attended the meeting where voting delegates, representing the organization’s 147,000 members, adopted a wide range of policy positions for 2023, re-elected the president and re-elected five members to the Board of Directors.

Garrett Hawkins, a livestock farmer from St. Clair County, was re-elected for a second term as MOFB president. Jason Kurtz from Holt County, Drew Lock from Adair County, Andy Clay from Moniteau County, and Sharon Arnold from Bates County were re-elected to the board for District 1, District 2, District 3, and District 4, respectively. Amy Jo Estes from Gasconade County was re-elected as the South Board Member At-Large. Andrew Boerding from St. Charles County has been appointed the new Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee Chairman/Board Advisory Member for a one-year term.

The delegation of members from every county in the state also spent a full afternoon debating and approving the organization’s new policy language for 2023.

“Our grassroots members provided us with strong guidance for the debates coming up in the new year,” said MOFB President Garrett Hawkins. “The farm bill only happens every five years, so it is crucial to get the policy right when we have the opportunity. Among other things, our members want to continue our pursuit of common-sense conservation and protect private property rights.”

In the state legislature, delegates sought to build on recent successes and continue to prioritize strengthening property rights for landowners facing threats of eminent domain. They also voted to support utilizing excess federal and state funds to expand I-70, so long as rural roads and bridges also receive adequate additional support.

As is often the case, rural healthcare was also a major topic.

“Keeping our rural communities strong requires access to high-quality, affordable medical care,” said Hawkins. “Our members have asked us to explore options for expanding their choices in how to obtain care, including the types of health plans that other state Farm Bureaus offer their members. We have been in discussions with our counterparts in those states and are confident this model would also work in Missouri to give our members more choices.”

Missouri Farm Bureau is the state’s oldest and largest farm advocacy organization. Founded in 1915, MOFB has a local presence in every county in Missouri.