Sen. Mike Bernskoetter’s Legislative Column for Feb. 3, 2021

Our Wisest Pursuit

Thomas Jefferson once described agriculture as “our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness.” I can’t help but agree with these wise words from our capital city’s namesake. Agriculture is good, honest work done by good, honest people. It puts food on the table, clothes on our backs and so much more. In particular, Missouri has been blessed with a strong and diverse agricultural tradition, and today, agriculture is our state’s No. 1 industry, contributing $88 billion to our state’s economy annually.

With that in mind, I believe one of our wisest pursuits in the Legislature is ensuring a strong ag industry in Missouri for years to come. I take that responsibility seriously as the chair of the Senate’s Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee. Just this week, the committee approved two pieces of legislation. The first was Senate Bill 37, which I sponsored. This bill streamlines the monitoring of the highly effective nitrogen fertilizer, anhydrous ammonia, to remove needless duplication and promote regulatory efficiency. The other bill, Senate Bill 72, designates the first full week in September as Fox Trotter Week with the hopes of increasing tourism around our state horse, which originated in the Ozarks. Both SBs 37 and 72 now head to the Senate floor for further consideration by the full Senate.

The Ag committee also recently discussed a bill relating to biodiesel. Senate Bill 96 creates the Missouri Made Fuels Act and requires diesel fuel in Missouri to contain a certain level of biodiesel between the months of April and October of each year. Under SB 96, the required percentage of biodiesel would gradually increase over several years, reaching 20 percent in April of 2024. Supporters of the bill hope the legislation will open up new opportunities for Missouri’s soybean producers and others, as well as promote the use of domestic renewable energy sources.

I believe the ag committee is off to a solid start this year, and I look forward to working with the committee in the months ahead to strengthen our state’s wisest pursuit.

As always, it is an honor to serve the 6th Senatorial District. If my office can be 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