Rep. Vicky Hartzler: America’s future depends on farmers. Here’s how we can combat the Biden Administration’s war on agriculture
Washington, April 18, 2022
Columbia Daily Tribune
By Rep. Vicky Hartzler (MO-04)
Here in Missouri, our farmers and ranchers work from sunup to sundown to produce a healthy and nutritious food supply. As a lifelong farmer myself, I understand that farming is not just a job, it’s a life decision we make every day to care for the land, our livestock and the natural resources that provide for billions of people around the world.
Right now, our state’s producers are facing pressure from every part of the supply chain — increasing input prices, restrictive government regulations, labor shortages, backups in processing capacity and record-high inflation.
Compared to just one year ago, the prices farmers are paying for propane, farm diesel and natural gas are up 49 percent, 83 percent and 133 percent. This results in higher prices passed on to consumers at the grocery store, with nearly every product costing at least eight percent more.
But that does not mean farmers and ranchers are seeing more money in their pockets. According to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri, farm production expenses this year are expected to increase by seven percent to $420 billion, “largely because of higher feed and fertilizer prices.”
Thankfully, our state’s farmers and ranchers have remained persistent and resilient in the face of these roadblocks. Agriculture is the number one industry fueling Missouri’s economy, contributing over $93 billion annually. We rank second in the number of farms, second in hay production and third in beef cattle.
As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I am in Washington fighting every day for farmers against the Biden administration’s damaging agriculture agenda. We need common-sense farm policy that assists our farmers and ranchers in doing their job — not restricting them.
So, what can we do to combat these crises? Expand competition, lower costs of production and free up restrictive regulations.
In Washington, one way I’ve advocated to increase competition in meat processing is through my new bill, the Amplifying Processing of Livestock in the United States (A-PLUS) Act, which would increase meat processing capacity by allowing livestock auction market owners to invest in small and regional packing facilities. In today’s environment, where the cattle industry is focused on additional shackle space and increasing packer competition for livestock, this legislation would allow additional capital opportunities for expanded cattle markets.
One way to reduce the costs of production is by lowering energy costs and reversing President Biden’s war on American energy. This will reduce the costs of fuel and the fertilizer components made from them.
Lastly, reducing restrictive regulations will free our agriculture leaders to increase production in our state. By clearly defining Waters of the United States so the federal government doesn’t have jurisdiction over all our land and successfully advocating for reliable access to critical crop protection tools like Enlist One and Enlist Duo — which we accomplished earlier this month — our farmers and ranchers can continue to provide for our communities.
America’s future depends on agriculture. I am proud to stand alongside America’s farmers and ranchers so the American consumer can continue to enjoy the safest and most affordable food supply in the world.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Republican, represents Missouri's 4th Congressional District and serves on the House Agriculture Committee in the United States Congress.