Gov. Mike Parson returned to his home territory for the official signing of the 2018 Missouri Farm Bill on Thursday, June 28. Parson chose for the occasion the Phillipsburg cattle ranch owned by Bruce Bradley.

Missouri Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn also made a rare visit to the area and said a few words. A large contingent of Dallas County and Webster County public office holders and farmers were on hand to hear and greet the governor.

Parson praised the Missouri legislature for approving the $39 million farm-bill budget and the entire state budget despite a lot of distractions, plus his  transition into the governor’s office.

“They kept their noses to the grindstone and remained focused,” he said.

Parson, who stressed that he is proud to be a cattle rancher, said he met with President Trump and some cabinet members — including the Secretary of Commerce — the previous week for an hour and a half, “and I really felt they were listening.” He said he talked about the need for better infrastructure, including airports, river ways and highways. He expressed his concern about tariffs that will hurt Missouri farmers if implemented.

“I also emphasized workforce development and broadband as key issues,” he said.

He said it is tough for new people to get into farming, and he would like to find ways to help.

“We are constantly under attack by animal-rights groups,” he said. “We don’t need to be told by them how to farm — we’ve been doing it well for generations. I know there are members of the press here, and I hope you will please emphasize that we don’t want these groups in Missouri.”

Parson emphasized that if there is a way to put more money into the agriculture budget, he will find it.

Chinn, who is part of a fifth-generation farm family, said “We want our kids to be the sixth generation.” 

She said food and security are the two main watchwords of the agriculture department. She also said she and her family have spent many hours taking care of animals and putting their needs first.

Chinn stressed that agriculture is Missouri’s top industry, bringing in sales of $88.8 billion.

“We have one of the safest food supplies in the world, and we will continue to protect consumers and be your voice,” she said.

Bradley said his farm usually runs 170 bulls and he also has female cows for sale, plus a cow-calf operation. He praised Chinn for managing an efficient department of agriculture and said he appreciates the department’s help in protecting Missouri’s cattle from disease.

Dallas County’s State Rep. Jeff Knight and 33rd District Sen. Mike Cunningham from Webster County were on hand for the occasion. Knight reported that he received a last-minute phone call from State Sen. Sandy Crawford saying she and her husband, John, were tied up with the Dallas County Fair, so would not be able to attend.

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