A Commission has been formed to study the damage done to Missouri’s ag industry by the drought and the down economy.
Representative Bill Reiboldt (R-Neosho) will chair the group. He is, himself, a farmer in southeast Missouri. He says in his own operation, he had to cut his corn crop for silage and much of his soybean crop was used for hay.
Reiboldt says there is a lot of concern over maintaining Missouri’s rank as the nation’s number two cow-calf state.
“A lot of people, because of the lack of hay and the cost of buying hay, will be selling their stock herd … their mama cows. A lot of people will be forced into selling their cows, and we’re already looking at a time when the cattle industry has been hurt. Our cattle numbers are as low as they’ve been since the 1950s, is my understanding.”
Reiboldt says once a person gets out of a cattle operation, especially a dairy operation, getting back in presents many challenges that make it unlikely they will get back in.
“A cow that is born and raised in Missouri can go other places to live, but it’s hard to bring a cow from other areas into Missouri. So, we’re concerned about the cow-calf industry in Missouri. We’re concerned about the dairy industry in Missouri … because so many of the smaller dairymen are having to sell out because they don’t have the feed. We’re concerned about the price of corn and other commodities and how it will affect a poultry industry and the hog industry in Missouri.”
Reiboldt says the group will look at a lot of possible ways producers might be helped. “We’re going to be looking at some water issues into the future. We’re going to be looking at irrigation. We’re going to be looking at definitely rebuilding the cow-calf industry in Missouri and what ways can we be of help. For example, if a person has to completely disperse a part or all of their herd, can we spread that tax liability over several years so that we can buy back?”
The other members of the commission are Representatives Jay Houghton (R-Martinsburg), Tony Dugger (R-Hartville) and Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton), as well as citizen members Lonny Duckworth of Duckworth Farms, Lloyd Gunter of Gunter Farms, Brent Sandidge of Ham Hills Farms and Greg Scharpe of Pioneer Seed.
The Commission will schedule four meetings around the state between now and the end of the year.