By BJ Tanksley
We thank nurses, police, waiters and other service providers. We designate one week a year to Thank a Farmer. But we don’t often take the time to thank our political leaders who work hard to make life better for all of us. This week, Missouri Farm Bureau recognized 62 state representatives with its Friend of Agriculture Award. This is our way of saying “thank you” to these representatives.
Since 1996 MOFB has given the Friend of Agriculture Award to state representatives. In order to receive the award, legislators must be nominated by their county Farm Bureau board and have a supportive voting record over the previous two legislative sessions. This combination ensures that Friend of Agriculture award winners are proven leaders who support MOFB members both at home and in Jefferson City.
Every year MOFB has a list of legislative priorities to support rural Missouri and agriculture. The past two years, the House agreed with MOFB’s top priority of protecting property owners against the use of eminent domain to facilitate a merchant transmission line. In 2019 we worked together to pass legislation to protect animal agriculture, to increase funding for our state’s transportation system and to allow the Missouri Department of Agriculture to fulfill its vital role into the future.
In this year’s session, representatives agreed with MOFB when they passed legislation to expand broadband access to Missourians and to allow voters the opportunity to vote to protect rural representation in the legislature. MOFB members believe these actions will allow agriculture to thrive and the next generation of rural Missourians to return home.
The 62 Friend of Agriculture awardees took stands in favor of rural Missourians on many of these issues and pushed to make rural people’s voices heard. In today’s polarized political environment, sometimes it is not easy to hold your ground on issues not pushed by the big cities. It is important that we recognize those who do and hold them up as examples for others to follow.
The full list of 2020 MOFB Friends of Agriculture is available at mofb.org/FriendOfAg. If you are a farmer, live in a rural area or even just appreciate public servants who do the right thing, take a minute to reach out to any local representatives on the list and tell them thank you.
BJ Tanksley, from Ashland, Missouri, is Director of State Legislative Programs for Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization.