The 93rd annual meeting of the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation drew almost 1,400 people. State and national dignitaries spoke at the meeting, officers were elected, and policy positions debated and adopted by the voting delegates representing all areas of Missouri.
"Two over-arching issues that touch the lives of farmers and ranchers every day summarize many of the discussions during this year's policy development process," says Charles Kruse, president of Missouri Farm Bureau. "First is concern with the rising costs for farmers for fertilizer, fuel, seed and farm chemicals. Second is the increased pressure on agriculture from growing population centers, which can lead to more regulations upon farmers, impact the property rights of farmers and their ability to expand their operations, and lessen the availability of farmland."
Lieutenant General Clyde Vaughn, director of the Army National Guard at the Pentagon, shared insight into new Guard duties in the Middle East. He explained the formation of a new platoon of soldiers with farm backgrounds who will provide expertise and training in soil sciences, irrigation, agronomy and animal husbandry to Afghan farmers, agribusinesses and academic institutions. The effort is designed to support productive farms that will not have to rely upon opium – currently the largest cash crop in Afghanistan.
Gov. Matt Blunt was also a speaker at the MFB convention. He announced the creation of a new position in state government - agriculture resources coordinator - who will serve as a liaison between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources to help farmers comply with state laws and regulations.
Chris Chinn, chair of American Farm Bureau's Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, spoke on the importance of educating the public about agriculture and modern farming practices.
MFB voting delegates adopted the following policy:
- Opposed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's plan for dumping millions of tons of excavated soil into the Missouri River to create potential habitat for pallid sturgeon.
- Reaffirmed support for a voluntary (not a USDA or state mandatory) national animal identification system to provide support for animal disease control and eradication.
- Reaffirmed support for removing tariffs on fertilizer imports.
- Called for greater investment in the development of new high yield, disease resistant public seed varieties.
- Reaffirmed support for extending concepts of the 2002 farm bill into the new farm bill and opposition to shifting funds from the farm program safety net to other programs.
- Renewed the call for a comprehensive national energy policy for the production of traditional and renewable/alternative energy.
A complete listing of policies will be accessible by the end of December at www.mofb.org.