Sen. Mike Bernskoetter’s Legislative Column for Feb. 10, 2021

The Family Farm

Over the years, I’ve encountered quite a few people who say farming is in their blood. And they mean it. Generation after generation, these Missourians have worked the land as their parents, grandparents and others did before them. Whether they raise livestock, grow crops or both, these individuals understand the value of hard work and have a deep appreciation for the land and what it helps create.

While the ag industry has certainly changed over time, Missouri and its people have not lost this close connection to farming. Today, our state is home to more than 95,000 farms – the second most of any state in the country, behind only Texas. Perhaps even more impressive is how many of these farms remain family owned. According to the USDA census data, families own and operate more than 90% of Missouri farms.

To help these family farms stay strong, I have filed Senate Bill 490 in the Missouri Senate. This bill deals with the family farm breeding livestock loan program, an important program for Missouri small farmers. Senate Bill 490 increases the annual amount of gross agricultural product sales a farmer can have in order to participate in the program from $250,000 to $500,000. The bill also repeals a provision that limits farmers to only one family farm livestock loan per family and for only one type of livestock. Lastly, the bill increases the maximum loan amount for beef and dairy cattle, swine, sheep and goats. All told, I believe this legislation will provide our state’s small farmers the flexibility and access to vital resources they need to stay competitive in today’s economy. I look forward to working to pass SB 490 and helping Missouri’s family farms stay strong for generations to come.

Just as SB 490 begins making its way through the legislative process, several other of my sponsored bills continue to move as well. My Senate Bill 37, which streamlines the regulation and monitoring of anhydrous ammonia, received an initial round of approval by the Senate this week. Senate Bill 301, which encourages Missourians to practice responsible fire management by using licensed prescribed burn professionals, was heard in committee and is now one step closer to reaching the Senate floor for debate. Lastly, I introduced a new piece of legislation to help keep pesticide applicators in compliance with federal law.

As you can see, it’s been a full week of activity in the Missouri Senate, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the 6th Senatorial District. If my office can be of service to you, please feel free to contact us at (573) 751-2076. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at