Blaine’s Bulletin: National Ag Week 2023

Missouri is a national leader in agriculture and has a rich history of farming and ranching. Our state is home to the second most farms in the country with 95,000 of them that support 460,000 jobs, second only to Texas. And 97% of our farms are family-owned, which means the next generation of Missourians is grabbing the baton to keep their family livelihoods running for years to come.

March 21st began the start of National Agriculture Week, and with a $93.7 billion dollar agriculture industry, Missouri has a lot to celebrate. Farming and ranching play an enormous role in our economy and we’re fortunate that thousands and thousands of Missourians who do their job so well call our state home. Missouri producers consistently rank in the nation’s top ten for commodities like hay, beef, rice, goats, turkeys, and soybeans – just to name a few. And while we continue to lead the nation, our farmers and ranchers are also exporting our state’s products across the world making Missouri a player on the world agricultural stage.

While our state is consistently leading the charge in agricultural success, it is no secret that inflationary policies and high energy costs have hit farmers and ranchers hard over the last couple years. Farming is already one of the most unpredictable industries there is. As Missourians are all too aware, relying on Mother Nature never goes quite to plan, so being able to count on things like reliable fuel costs or seed prices is paramount. This unfortunately hasn’t been the case for far longer than it should’ve been, and I know that farmers across the country are hurting because of it. While our country’s inflationary numbers aren’t nearly where they should be, I do think we’re slowly trending in the right direction. And with that I hope we’ll bring greater relief to our nation’s farmers and ranchers who play such a major role in our economy, job force, and overall national security.

One of Congress’ most important jobs every five years is reauthorizing the Farm Bill, when we update and reform the necessary programs that help our nation’s ag producers feed the world. The current Farm Bill expires this year so we’re working on a new one as we speak. This comprehensive legislation covers everything from crop insurance, to the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), to risk management - and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and the Capitol take its reauthorization seriously. Providing the American agriculture industry with the proper tools to remain productive and globally competitive is vital, and I look forward to working with my colleagues later this year to do just that.

Farmers and ranchers are some of the hardest working people in America – especially here in Missouri. Our state relies on agriculture and I’m so grateful to all the Missourians who are continuing this longstanding tradition that has fed, clothed, and fueled our country for generations. I’m hopeful it will continue for many more.