Missouri Governor Matt Blunt addressed a big crowd in St. Louis at his annual ag conference. It was also the Gateway NAMA meeting in conjunction with the St. Louis Ag Club on January 7.
During the Governor’s speech he talked about several initiatives he’s proposed to assist farmers in the state. They include:
Expanding Missouri Dairy Farms
Gov. Blunt announced his plan to establish Dairy Parlor Renovation Grants to help expand Missouri dairy farms. The grants will help producers at older dairies with the costs of parlor renovations for more efficient milking, allowing them to grow their herds.
New technology and a “parabone” design allow producers to cut their milking time in half. The governor is calling for $200,000 to help producers make needed renovations in the first year. The grant will require producers to share 50 percent of costs and will be awarded up to $10,000 per grant.
Enhancing Infrastructure to Support Agriculture
The governor will also recommend $4 million in new funding for Port Authority capital improvement projects. The projects support infrastructure critical to growing Missouri agriculture needs.
Supporting the Future of Agriculture
Gov. Blunt announced his plan to establish the Farm Legacy Exchange Program, which will help keep Missouri’s farming industry strong for future generations by facilitating succession planning. The Farm Legacy Exchange Program will match beginning farmers with farmers nearing retirement to help form a working relationship and strategy to transition farming responsibilities and designated assets from existing farmers to beginning farmers.
The Farm Legacy Exchange Program addresses a growing need as the average age of working farmers has risen to 60. In addition, the program will help young farmers address the rising cost of production land through collaboration with experienced farmers considering phasing out their operations. The governor’s new program will match veteran producers ready to retire with younger producers based on a survey of each farmer. The program will provide estate planning, legal contacts and access to all the financial incentive programs administered through the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.
The Farm Legacy Exchange Program is a collaborative effort among the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the Missouri Farm Bureau, University of Missouri-Extension, Farm Credit Services, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the International Farm Transition Network.
Governor Blunt’s speech at the luncheon was recorded. To hear the speech visit the Gateway NAMA web site at www.gatewaynama.com.