A Missouri legislative committee examining funding levels at the state Department of Agriculture (MDA) will hold a September hearing in Jefferson City.
The Joint Committee on Review of the Plant Industries Division has scheduled a September 11th hearing at 1 pm at the Statehouse in Jefferson City.
State Rep. Don Rone, R-Portageville, who co-chairs the joint committee, says that in 2010, Missouri lawmakers decided to fund the Plant Industries Division with fees.
Rone says fees are not adequate enough to fund that division, which operates Missouri’s pesticide control and produce safety programs.
Despite agriculture being the state’s top industry, the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s budget is about $39.5 million.
Missouri’s state operating budget is more than $28 billion.
Two key Democratic lawmakers, State Reps. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, and Deb Lavender, D-Kirkwood, have backed Representative Rone’s call for additional MDA funding.
Kendrick has said that the Division of Plant Industries “is way understaffed.”
Representative Lavender agrees, and has said that tax cuts pushed by Missouri Republicans are a reason for MDA’s funding issues.
The Joint Committee on Review of the Plant Industries Division has 12 members, seven Republicans and five Democrats.
State Sen. Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo, is the other co-chair.
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