In many ways, the 2024 state legislative session was a self-fulfilling prophecy. As Capitol watchers predicted, it was a disappointing result with little being accomplished. Nonetheless, Missouri Farm Bureau (MOFB) optimistically went to work to deliver meaningful results for our members. Unfortunately, much of the state legislative session was ruled by lengthy filibusters, dysfunction, and animosity among legislators.

Infighting among Senate factions squandered weeks away, and many bills, including MOFB’s top policy priorities, did not cross the finish line. There are real-world issues facing our members, and we have solutions teed up, if given the opportunity. Everyday hard-working Missourians are tired of political rhetoric and expect our elected leaders to deliver results.

We know one of the biggest challenges facing farmers, ranchers, and entrepreneurs is access to affordable and effective health coverage. Many people are uninsured or underinsured due to limited individual marketplace options and skyrocketing health insurance costs. Throughout this legislative session, MOFB members from across the state visited with legislators each week. They shared personal stories about how a Farm Bureau Health Plan would help their families, farms and businesses. Now, this important option is sidelined until the 2025 legislative session.

MOFB continued our focus on property rights and asked for legislation to prohibit eminent domain for the construction of industrial solar and wind developments. We worked to protect our vital water resources from being exported to other states. For years, we have advocated that the Missouri Constitution is a foundational document that should not be frivolously modified via initiative petition. These and numerous other solutions were left undone. To say that Missouri Farm Bureau, and many others, are frustrated by the results of this session is an understatement.

While we are disappointed, we appreciate that multiple MOFB priorities were included in the budget. For the third year in a row, the legislature dedicated an additional $100 million for maintenance of farm-to-market roads. Funds were also set aside for the ongoing Missouri River Flood Risk Resiliency study, to bolster veterinarian technician programs and to improve the Interstate 44 corridor.

We thank our legislative champions who worked tirelessly throughout the tumultuous process, despite disheartening circumstances. We also thank our members who spent their valuable time at the state capitol advocating for policies that will bring the kids back home to the farm and rural Missouri. MOFB remains steadfast and will continue to focus on advancing our member-adopted policies.

I, for one, am going into the 2025 legislative session with high expectations. I am going to remain hopeful that our elected leaders will work together to foster solutions that serve citizens. Perhaps our continued optimism will be a self-fulfilling prophecy resulting in better outcomes for Missourians next year.