As the Missouri General Assembly’s 2021 legislative session gets underway, Missouri Farm Bureau is focusing on issues that have long been foundational to its members’ core philosophy. After a 2020 session cut short by COVID-19, our members are optimistic that this year can produce more results for Missouri.
Property rights will again play a leading role in 2021. Eminent domain abuse poses an increasing risk to family farms across Missouri. Despite the hard work of many leaders in the legislature in recent years, eminent domain reform legislation has not been able to pass the Missouri Senate. Protecting the right to own property is fundamental to farming and the American way of life. MOFB will again advocate for reform to protect these rights in 2021.
Rural Missouri needs more investment in infrastructure to remain competitive in today’s economy. The experiences of 2020 laid bare the importance of broadband internet for all citizens. Our river infrastructure and farm-to-market roads are woefully underfunded. We need to repair existing infrastructure and build out the needs of tomorrow so we can remain competitive for years to come.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) is an important partner with farmers to maintain a safe and abundant food and fuel supply for all Missourians. We need an adequately-funded MDA so that it can carry out its regulatory responsibilities. These important programs protect consumers and ensure a fair marketplace for our farmers. MDA has also gone above and beyond throughout the pandemic, taking emergency actions such as developing a program to assist small, local meat processors with grants to diversify our food supply. We will continue to support this important partner in fostering growth and providing opportunities in rural areas.
Over the past several years, Governor Parson and his administration have emphasized streamlining regulations and removing burdensome rules. However, there is more work to do on the state level to ensure regulations do not go too far and stifle the ability of farmers to provide food, fuel and fiber to Missourians. We will also pay close attention to any new regulatory actions coming from Washington as the new administration begins.
After last year’s abbreviated session, we expect 2021 to be a very busy year. Missouri Farm Bureau’s members will be at the table for these and many more discussions.