A future for Missouri agriculture that does not favor one kind of farming over another will soon get a close look from some state lawmakers. The study has been triggered by the state law requiring 10 percent of most gasoline sold in Missouri to include corn-based ethanol. The law passed two years ago went into effect last January. Critics say the mandate guarantees a market for corn producers, but hurts livestock raisers because it drives up corn prices.
A special House committee headed by Owensville Representative Charlie Schlottach will soon start looking for a balanced farm policy. "Any time the government gets too involved in the marketplace, you do have unintended consequences… I think agriculture’s first priority needs to be about food; second, about energy," he says.
Schlottach says Missouri has great potential for producing animal protein to meet worldwide demand. He says it also has great capabilities for producing grain. But he says agriculture policy needs to be balanced so both sides benefit.
The committee will hold its organizational meeting Thursday at the Capitol.