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U.S. Rep. Smith starts Farm Tour with stop in Farmington

Congressman Jason Smith, second from left, listens to Veterinary Clinic of the Mineral Area co-owner Dr. Ben Rothlisberger speak about some of the difficulties he and co-owner, Dr. Andre Oberle, left, face in their dealings with Washington. The conversation took place during Smith’s first stop on his 2023 Farm Tour in Farmington on Thursday. Also participating in the conversation is Missouri Representative Mike Henderson, R-Desloge, far right. (Kevin R. Jenkins)

Visits with local veterinarians

U.S. Representative Jason Smith, R-8th District, kicked off his annual Farm Tour recently with a stop at Farmington’s Veterinary Clinic of the Mineral Area.

The Farm Tour gives Smith the opportunity each year to visit various places of interest in the 8th District in order to help better understand the needs of his constituents.

Following a tour of the facility, Smith met with Dr. Ben Rothlisberger and Dr. Andre Oberle to learn more about the challenges they told the congressman they face in dealing with the federal government, including a worker shortage and what they say are burdensome regulations.

Smith, a Republican, told them that businesses across the U.S. are still struggling to fill open positions because, he maintains, Washington Democrats included $400 billion in their American Rescue Plan Act “to pay people not to work.”

Smith added that “it’s impossible to drive through any Main Street in America without seeing help wanted signs hanging in the windows of small businesses.”

Smith said that, as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over welfare programs, he will “continue fighting to ensure we have policies in place to get people back to work and help eliminate the poverty trap.”

Dr. Rothlisberger and Dr. Oberle also discussed the difficulty rural clinics have in hiring and retaining staff because of competition with clinics in bigger towns and cities.

Dr. Ben Rothlisberger converses with Congressman Jason Smith while observing Joe Fasig, DVM, perform surgery on a cat. (Kevin R. Jenkins)

In addition, the veterinarians shared the difficulty ranchers face with overreaching federal regulations — including the Veterinary Feed Directive — which they said forces farmers to jump through hoops in order to administer antibiotics.

Smith said he would “keep working to get rid of burdensome regulations that make ranchers’ jobs needlessly difficult.”

Following his Farm Tour stop in Farmington, Smith participated in a trade-focused roundtable discussion with Jefferson County Port officials, business owners, agriculture groups, and local leaders in Kimmswick.

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