The next step for a Missouri law assisting dairy farmers is to get it funded. There is optimism among producers at the Heart of America Dairy Expo that state lawmakers will fund the measure.
Governor Jay Nixon’s positive comments about agriculture in his State of the State Address bode well for the necessary appropriations to fund the Dairy Revitalization Act, according to Larry Schmidt, a dairyman from Laredo, Missouri, and vice president of the Missouri Dairy Association.
“[Governor Nixon] was really passionate about it, the scholarships and helping the dairy farmers,” Schmidt told Brownfield Ag News at the dairy expo in Springfield. “We’re really excited about it, and with him doing that we can visualize it coming to pass.”
Nixon singled out Missouri Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce, several individual farmers and Missouri agriculture in general during his address at the Capitol Wednesday.
“I know all of us in agriculture are, I think, very happy with some of the attention that is being paid to agriculture right now,” said Fordyce, reacting to what the governor included in his speech.
There is a positive mood in the capitol for funding the bill that provides assistance to Missouri dairy farmers, said Fordyce.
“You know, it seems to me that if the Appropriations Committee in the House, the Budget Committee in the Senate and the governor all want to get behind this and do it, I think it’ll happen,” Fordyce told Brownfield Ag News prior to welcoming people to the dairy expo.
The law, passed last spring, offsets premiums paid for the federal dairy Margin Protection Program and provides scholarships for students who commit to work in Missouri agriculture. And after more than 30 years of dairying, that facet of the law in particular means a lot to Larry Schmidt.
“Oh, it does, it really hits home with me,” said Schmidt, “because that’s my life, is dairy.”
His aim in a few years is to transition his farm to the next generation.
“My youngest daughter, after she completed college, decided to come into the operation with her husband,” said Schmidt. “I’m looking forward to the future and passing the dairy along to them.”
Director Fordyce looks at the proposed agriculture funding issues and the governor’s positive view on agriculture as a shift in public sentiment.
“I think there’s more emphasis on agriculture,” said Fordyce. “People are curious about agriculture and what it is, what we’re doing.” For whatever reason Governor Nixon mentioned agriculture and expressed support for including agriculture initiatives in the state’s budget, Fordyce is happy that it was heard.
“Obviously agriculture has a great story to tell; we’re doing that, people are taking notice and it’s a great time to be in the industry right now,” said Fordyce, “a really great time.”
AUDIO: Larry Schmidt (5 min. MP3)
AUDIO: Richard Fordyce (5 min. MP3)