State senators hear that Missouri’s leading industry faces some very difficult problems. A series of speakers from various agriculture sectors have laid out a series of problem besetting agriculture before senators sitting in on a seminar

Jeff Windett with the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association paints a bleak picture, telling senators the beef industry is reaching a critical stage. Windett says the last year and a half has been rough on cattle producers. Feed costs have risen. Land prices keep climbing, to as much as $2,000 an acre in some parts of the state. He says small producers, with herds of 30 or less, have been hurt the most.

Missouri has lost as many as 400,000 head of cattle. The state has seen about half its dairy farms disappear. Missouri has lost about half its dairy farmers. Corn and soybean farmers have been greatly helped by the bio-fuels industry, but the drop in fuel prices have hit hard their bottom line.

Still, the big worry is the cow-calf operations, second in the nation, so much of a worry that it even concerns Missouri Soybean Association Executive Director Dale Ludwig. Ludwig tells senators that the state has made it more difficult to be in the livestock industry and it needs to turn that around.

All the speakers urge senators to protect and promote the $31 billion agriculture industry; responsible for nearly 600,000 jobs in Missouri.

Download/listen Brent Martin reports (1:15 MP3)