The Missouri Department of Agriculture is dealing with a shortage of inspectors examining crop damage complaints from a herbicide called dicamba. Before a dinner with state ag leaders on Wednesday at the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City, Governor Mike Parson, a Republican, says he’s aware of the shortage of inspectors.
“Agriculture is the number one industry in this state,” Parson tells Brownfield Ag News. “We have to do everything we can to make sure we protect that number one industry and whatever that means, I’m going to try my best to make sure they have the tools they need to do the job.”
The department has seven inspectors working on pesticide complaints.
The agency has received about 173 pesticide complaints so far this year – most involve dicamba and originate in southeast Missouri. The damage reports involve 17,000 acres of soybeans and smaller areas with damage to trees and shrubs, fruits and vegetables. Southeast Missouri also received the most dicamba complaints in 2017 and 2016.
Parson, who is a farmer himself, says he understands the need for a strongly funded state ag department.
“If we need more inspectors for that, then we’re going to take a look. We’ll sit down with the director and we’ll talk about that,” Parson says. “I’ve always felt like the Department of Agriculture probably has not been funded to the level I personally would like to see it funded to.”
The department’s current budget is about $39.5 million out of Missouri’s total operating budget of $28 billion. In April, State Rep. Don Rone, R-Portageville, announced the formation of an interim Missouri legislative committee to examine funding levels within the department, specifically the agency’s Division of Plant Industries. The panel will meet July 30 at the state Capitol.
Copyright © 2018 · Missourinet