The Missouri Senate passed Missouri Cattlemen's Association priority, Senate Bill 391, Thursday, May 2, 2019, with a 23-11 vote. The legislation now moves to the Missouri House of Representatives for approval. The association was quick to commend legislators for approving the measure that it says advances Missouri agriculture and reduces regulatory uncertainty for its members.
"This is a huge win for Missouri agriculture. The Missouri Senate has made clear its intent to move Missouri agriculture forward. They sent the signal to current and future farmers and ranchers that we are open for business," said MCA President Bobby Simpson. "We encourage the House to move quickly to pass this important legislation."
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Mike Bernskoetter (R-6), prevents county governments from passing rules and regulations on farm and ranch families that are more stringent than scientifically founded rules and regulations promulgated by the Department of Natural Resources and other agencies. Proponents argue that a patchwork of county-by-county regulations creates regulatory uncertainty for farm and ranch families and prevents them from expanding and stops new operations from starting. The list of proponents include nearly 30 organizations.
Opponents of the legislation include the Humane Society of the United States, Missouri Rural Crisis Center and Sierra Club. They argue that the legislation only benefits corporate farmers. Simpson said the wild accusations are false and a direct assault on farm and ranch families in the state.
"The fear mongering and outright lies of the radical extremist groups opposing this legislation do nothing to benefit Missouri agriculture or consumers. We are proud to represent cattle producers in this state and will not back down to those who have no desire to move agriculture and our rural communities forward," said Simpson, who is a former county commissioner. "We are grateful to the senators who supported Missouri agriculture with a yes vote and cannot thank enough Sen. Bernskoetter and Majority Floor Leader Caleb Rowden for their unwavering, bold leadership on this important issue."