Protecting Missouri’s Agricultural Facilities
It’s no secret to the residents of our community – agriculture is our state’s No. 1 industry. According to the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the ag industry contributes more than $80 billion to our state’s economy. In addition, this vital industry employs more than 400,000 individuals throughout the Show-Me State. In order to help protect the hardworking Missourians that makeup our state’s agricultural industry, I have sponsored Senate Bill 699. This legislation prohibits the inspection of certain grounds or facilities used for certain agricultural purposes in order to enforce the laws or regulations of a state other than Missouri. The legislation covers agricultural facilities located in Missouri that play a role in the production of eggs, milk and other dairy products; the raising of livestock or poultry; or the breeding of dogs or other animals that are not intended to be used as a food product. This legislation is similar to Rep. Kent Haden’s House Bill 1583.
Under this legislation, the entities authorized for inspection would include the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the county sheriff for the county in which the facility is located, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and any other federal or Missouri state agencies with statutory or regulatory authority. This bill would not prohibit producers from approving inspections by other groups for value-added purposes. It also excludes any charter county or any city not within a county.
While I believe my proposal plays an important role in clarifying who has inspection authority over our state’s ag producers, this legislation also helps encourage a high level of biosecurity at our state’s agricultural facilities. The concept of biosecurity refers to the process of limiting animal exposure to pests and diseases, which can be carried into facilities by visitors who are not familiar with proper sanitation practices. For instance, swine facilities have a high biosecurity level because of African Swine Fever. Every individual entering one of these facilities needs to be trained in biosecurity procedures to ensure diseases do not spread throughout our state’s agricultural facilities. In some cases, violations of biosecurity protocols can cost millions of dollars to rectify.
The goal of this legislation is to prevent out-of-state groups from inspecting our state’s agricultural facilities, without permission. Too often, I have heard of situations where out of state groups have inspected an agricultural facility in Missouri without having proper authorization. I believe SB 699 would help our ag producers by clarifying who has inspection authority within the state, as well as encourage a high level of biosecurity throughout Missouri’s agricultural facilities.
On Monday, Feb. 17, SB 699 was approved by the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee. While we still have three months remaining in the legislative session, I look forward to working with my colleagues on this important legislation. I truly believe it has the potential to help our state’s No. 1 industry continue to grow and prosper.
Visitors from the 10th Senatorial District
It was a pleasure to welcome a host of visitors from our community to the State Capitol this week. I was fortunate to meet Carlee Long, a 4-H student from Paris, Missouri. She was visiting the State Capitol with other 4-H members to get a first-hand look at the legislative process. I enjoyed meeting with this bright, young lady and providing her with a glimpse of the day-to-day operations of the Missouri Senate. Members of the Fulton High School Leadership Class also stopped by and visited our office. I was delighted to meet with these impressive students and talk with them about the legislative process. In addition, I was pleased to meet with members from various school schools throughout the 10th Senatorial District. As a retired educator, I enjoyed hearing their thoughts on several of the education proposals moving through the General Assembly.
It is an honor to be your state senator, and my door is always open to your concerns, questions or comments. Please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-2757 or visit my web page at www.senate.mo.gov/riddle.