Rural Missouri’s economic fortunes are closely tied to the agricultural economy. We need to strengthen and grow our existing base in order to remain economically viable for future generations.
Missouri agriculture generates over $88 billion of economic activity throughout the state. Missouri Farm Bureau is a leading partner in the Show-Me State Food, Beverage and Forest Products Manufacturing Initiative. This project aims to discover opportunities for Missouri to expand its economy by building enhanced-value chains that increase in-state value-added processing.
In 2018, the University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources proposed evaluating Missouri’s agricultural economy in an effort to identify opportunities for growth. Missouri Farm Bureau joined the effort as a leading partner.
In February 2019, research firm TEConomy produced a 140-page report detailing three recommendations to pursue. The recommendations were:
- Regional Food Systems: Enhance food value chains at a regional and local level across Missouri, and facilitate and accelerate development of regional value-added food product manufacturing businesses.
- Foods for Health: Build a new, research and innovation driven food industry for Missouri rooted in advanced nutritional sciences, an expansion of food science capabilities, and an applied clinical and translational research program.
- Enhanced Commodity Utilization: Develop enhanced value-added processing activities for key commodities grains, dairy products, eggs and livestock.
In June 2019, Acting Governor Mike Kehoe, under directive from Governor Mike Parson, issued an Executive Order creating the Missouri Food, Beverage, and Forest Products Manufacturing Task Force. The group’s mission is to produce an execution plan in response to the initial recommendations. Acting Governor Kehoe appointed Missouri Farm Bureau as one of seven voting members of the Task Force, and one of only two from private industry. The order directed the Task Force to address the following priorities:
- Surveying past and present status, including resource allocation;
- Creating a five-year timeline and strategy for implementation;
- Developing an operating plan to leverage existing activities and programs in food and beverage processing and manufacturing, including a proposal for Missouri investment; and
- Establishing a marketing plan for the promotion of existing and new Missouri-based products.
The Missouri Food, Beverage, and Forest Products Manufacturing Task Force continues to meet regularly and develop recommendations.
Loan Guarantee Program
We support a program to provide loan guarantees for loans to value-added processing facilities through the sale of taxable bonds. The main source of revenues to repay or guarantee these bonds should come from general revenue appropriations.
We favor the continuation of the Missouri linked deposit program, Missouri FIRST, which reduces interest rates to farmers and small businesses through local banks and Farm Credit System banks. We support the State Treasurer’s program to set aside a portion of the state’s investment portfolio to be used to create capital for value-added and other agricultural enterprises.
Agricultural Marketing and Regulatory Programs
We support the formation of a perpetual funding incentive source to assist farmer owned cooperatives in processing Missouri agriculture products into value added consumer goods.
We support efforts of the Missouri Department of Agriculture to develop and implement strategies that add value to Missouri’s high quality cattle herd.
We believe state government has an important role to play in developing value-added marketing and processing of agricultural products in Missouri.
We support participation in production and/or marketing activities such as producer alliances or new generation cooperatives. We support legislation to modernize federal law to ensure that farmer cooperatives, including new generation cooperatives, continue to have access to credit.
We support the establishment of an agricultural innovation center in Missouri which could serve as a central distribution point for information as well as state and federal funds for individuals interested in pursuing value-added agricultural opportunities. We believe the agricultural community would be best served if the agricultural innovation center was established at the state’s land grant institution.
We commend and support private and public efforts to develop and promote alternative uses for agricultural products, such as corn-based starch products, ethanol blended fuels, soy diesel fuel, soy ink and beef tallow for hay preservation and energy use.
We support the development of methods to recycle plant nutrients via processing manure into fertilizer and encourage the use of tax credits and other incentives to promote this industry.
We strongly encourage the use of bio-based products at all levels of government and we recommend that a bio-based products preferential purchase program be adopted by the state of Missouri.
We support measures that will encourage agricultural cooperatives to enhance the profitability of its farmer members by becoming more involved in value-added processing.
We further support:
- Providing additional financial incentives to assist new generation cooperatives with start-up costs, including plant construction and processing equipment costs; and
- Retaining state funds appropriated for eligible value-added agricultural operations that are not allocated in a fiscal year for use by such operations in subsequent years.
We support the state tax credit program for farmers who invest in new generation cooperatives and processing facilities.
We support increasing funding for the Missouri Agriculture and Small Business Development Authority for investor tax credits.
We support providing state tax credits for expansion of livestock operations.
We recommend the University of Missouri and associated research facilities place a higher priority on the research of value-added and specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and other emerging crops.
Risk Management Insurance
We support the development of risk management programs for identity-preserved and other value-enhanced products including specialty grains.