Agriculture is the No.1 industry in Missouri. Our Eighth Congressional District is home to a great variety of agricultural interests. In the fertile Missouri Bootheel, we grow cotton, rice, corn, soybeans, wheat, peanuts and even raise catfish. In stark contrast to the Bootheel stand the Ozark Foothills where we have cattle, dairy and timber producers. Our district is also one of the most diverse agriculture districts in the country growing everything except sugar and citrus fruits.
This week I traveled our district and listened to the challenges farm families are facing on my weeklong Farm Tour. During the tour I visited 11 counties and held 20 tours and discussions. Although the each farm was unique and each crop or livestock raised was different, the message from each visit was the same: Washington regulations are hurting Missouri farm families. I have always been a believer that the best ideas do not come from bureaucrats. The best ideas come from people who actually roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. The information I learned on the Farm Tour will help me fight oppressive regulations in Washington and advocate for common sense farm policy.
At visits across our district this week I was able to hear directly from producers. In Mountain View, I visited a hardwood flooring company that harvests timber from the Ozarks that is milled into beautiful floors for families across the country. At a Christmas tree farm in Jackson I learned how trees mature from tiny saplings to decorated holiday traditions. In Marston, I visited the largest rice mill in Missouri that attracts business from several neighboring states and talked about trade opportunities to expand market reach. In Poplar Bluff and West Plains I was able to visit with cattle, dairy and row croppers during the Farm Bureau’s annual appreciation dinners. At our visit to a hydroponics farm in Sikeston I learned how technology is making it possible to grow fresh produce year round.
Agriculture is truly the lifeblood of our district. Last month I supported a fiscally responsible Farm Bill that will ensure our rural communities are not left behind, and will have the certainty and security for farm families to stay in business. While the Eighth District is home to some of the most diverse agricultural production in the world, every single producer’s message to me was the same: We need less Washington and more common sense. In the House of Representatives I will continue working to end the burdensome regulations that hurt farm families in Missouri and fight for common sense ideas as policy is being created.