JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Westboro, Mo., farmer Blake Hurst was re-elected president of the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation at its 98th annual meeting. The election took place Dec. 4, wrapping up the 3-day event.
“This organization has a proud history, and has made a tremendous difference in the lives of many people,” said Hurst. “I look forward to working with county leaders in the next two years. There are big challenges facing farmers and ranchers and it will take all of us to meet those challenges to our industry and our way of life.”
Completing his first 2-year term as president, Hurst has a long history of leadership in Farm Bureau. He served as Missouri Farm Bureau Vice President for seven years and represented his area of the state on the board of directors for another eight years. His leadership roles in Farm Bureau began when he was appointed chairman of the Farm Bureau’s state Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, and he served on the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. Hurst now serves on the AFBF Board of Directors.
Hurst is part of a family row crop farm. He raises corn and soybeans with his father, brothers, nephews and his two sons-in-law. He also runs a wholesale greenhouse business with wife, Julie, daughter, Lee, and sons-in-law. Two acres of greenhouses and another two acres for plants outdoors creates enough business to employ up to 15 people. The Hursts
sell bedding plants in a four-state area.
Besides Lee, Blake and Julie also have a daughter, Ann, development director for their local hospital, and son, Ben, who finished law school earlier this year and is a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. The Hursts have six grandchildren.
His essays and opinions on rural America and farming have been published in national magazines and newspapers like the New York Times and he continues to be sought out as a spokesperson for agriculture, not only in Missouri, but also in places like Philadelphia and New York City.
In other business the group set some guidelines for the organization in the year ahead. The following is a summary of other issues delegates voted to focus on in 2013:
* Immediate passage of a responsible federal farm bill.
* Continue opposition to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other animal activist groups who want more legislation or rules restricting agricultural production.
* Increase flexibility for schools participating in the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, including eliminating mandatory calorie limits and limits on lean meat protein and dairy.
* Enact legislation re-establishing the Career and Technical Education Board and authorizing the board to administer career and technical education programs.
* Allow state and local governments to collect sales tax on internet sales by out-of-state sellers.
* Increase transparency in the state ballot initiative process by requiring a public hearing or independent review of proposed ballot initiatives by the Joint Committee on Legislative Research prior to final approval of ballot language by the Secretary of State.
* Authorize counties to enact a temporary burn ban with an exemption for agricultural operations using best management practices during a declared drought disaster and impose penalties for violation.
* Congress should retain control of the national debt and only increase the debt ceiling in the event of a national emergency and with the approval of a two-thirds vote in both chambers.