The Missouri Farm Bureau FARM-PAC hosts its traditional meeting to interview candidates in Missouri’s U.S. Senate race. Invitations were issued to both Republican incumbent Jim Talent and Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill. But only Talent was on hand for the event. McCaskill’s campaign had informed the Farm Bureau she would not be able to attend the meeting. That didn’t stop Talent from speaking to the group and taking several questions. Talent spoke of the importance of the family farmer and the contributions of the agriculture community to the whole country. Talent, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, covered such subjects as the renewable fuels standard, efforts to eliminate the estate tax, and the importance of drought relief to farmers in Missouri and throughout the country. Talent says there is too much hostility, in Washington, to the farm community, and says he’s working hard to change that culture. For her part, McCaskill maintains she will fight for Missouri’s family farms, but says there is little to be gained by appearing before a group like the Farm Bureau, calling it a Republican organization. She says she would be happy to speak with the Farm Bureau after the election, but sees little purpose in meeting wtih the group now when there are so many other groups that are more open to her message.