Investing in agriculture and our rural communities
Even though the 2022 legislative session ended in May, the work of the Legislative Assembly is never done. Lawmakers are always looking for new ways to improve our state and ensure it remains a great place to live, work and raise a family. For example, on June 22, the Joint Committee on Agriculture met to discuss the economic impact of Missouri agriculture.
Agriculture is our state’s #1 industry, contributing $93.7 billion to our state’s economy. Of course, an industry of this size is not without its challenges. Trade disputes, disease, rising prices and more can all impact our farmers’ bottom line, and Missouri must be able to respond to help our farmers meet these challenges. The committee heard testimony about how economic tools such as the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) tax credits are one of the ways our state can effectively support our state’s farmers. .
Another challenge the committee discussed was the growing age of farmers in our state. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the average age of a Missouri farmer is now 59.4. While it is true that over the years agriculture in Missouri has become more and more efficient, we still need people to take on the important work of tilling the farmland when older farmers take on their retirement. Investing in our rural communities will be one of the key ways to make farming an attractive option for the next generation and help hard-working Missouri earn a living.
This hearing was only the beginning of the committee’s work this year. I look forward to working with my fellow committee members as we pursue policy goals to keep our state’s agricultural industry strong for years to come.
As always, I am honored to serve the citizens of the 6th Senate District. Please feel free to contact my office at (573) 751-2076. For more information on my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at senate.mo.gov/Bernskoetter.