Gov. Nixon signs two ag bills at Purdy dairy
April 15, 2015
Friday marked an exciting day for area FFA members when they witnessed Governor Jay Nixon sign two bills into law at Edgewood Dairy, owned by Charles Fletcher, in Purdy. Nixon signed two bills, House Bill 259, the Missouri Dairy Revitalization Act, and Senate Bill 12, an omnibus agriculture bill, into law in front of the large crowd on the sunny afternoon at the family-owned pasture-based dairy.
Before signing the bills into law, both of which had been priority pieces of legislation of the Missouri Farm Bureau in the 2015 legislative session, Nixon stated, “Agriculture is our state’s number on industry and the bills I’m signing today will help to further strengthen this important sector of our economy.”
Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst said, “Missouri Farm Bureau is extremely pleased that the governor signed these bills today. These pieces of legislation will benefit farmers for years to come. Agriculture is the state’s largest industry and these bills will help ensure it remains strong.”
The Dairy Revitalization Act serves to reimburse dairy farmers up to 70 percent of their Margin Protection Program premiums, establish scholarships and also fund producer training and a study of how to grow Missouri’s dairy industry. The Margin Protection Program assists dairy farmers when the dairy margin drops below $4. Also part of the law, up to 80 scholarships of $5,000 each will be available for students pursing two- or four-year agriculture degrees with 2.5 GPA’s when they graduates from a Missouri high school. Students will also sign an agreement to work in the agriculture industry for at least two years for every year they receive the scholarship.
HB 259 was sponsored by Representative Bill Reiboldt and passed the House on a 110-49 vote on February 4. Missouri Dairy Association president Lloyd Gunter stated, “We thank the Governor for recognizing the needs of maintaining a local milk supply for all Missouri consumers and our processing industry by helping Missouri’s dairy farmers with their risk management program.”
Gunter continued, “We hope HB 259 will help curb the decline in Missouri dairies and provide opportunities for young people entering into the dairy business and furthering their education in ag related fields.”
The Ag Omnibus bill increases the weight limits for trucks hauling livestock to 85,500 pounds year-round, the weights of grain trucks by 10 percent during harvest time, and repeals a state law that prohibits beef producers from voting on instituting a state beef checkoff.
Nixon stated, “Last fall, Missouri farmers saw record harvests throughout the state, but our existing weight limits hampered the ability of Missouri’s Farmers and producers to get the job done. By establishing an increased limit during times of harvest, we can help Missouri’s harmers and ranchers continue to feed, fuel and clothe the world.
Nixon added, “When I say that we feed, fuel and clothe the world, we do.” He was referencing Missouri’s huge growth in agricultural exports over the last five years which went to more than 150 countries and increased by more than a billion dollars.
Nixon continued, “Missouri’s dairy industry supports more than 23,000 jobs and contributes $2 billion to our state’s GDP. By supporting our dairy farmers and encouraging more young people to pursue careers in agriculture, the Dairy Revitalization Act will yield tremendous benefits for our rural communities and our entire economy.”