Today, October 8 was the first hearing in Harrisonville with others scheduled in Springfield and northwest Missouri late in the month. Testifying was dairy farmer David Martin, who is also Hickory County Farm Bureau president, and Brent Hampy, a Pettis County cattleman who is currently serving on the Missouri Farm Bureau State Board of Directors. Martin told state representatives that even though many dairy policy issues must be addressed at the federal level, there are certain areas where Missouri legislators can help.
Martin suggested bringing into consideration a dairy apprentice mentoring program which would allow high school and college students with an interest in dairy farming the opportunity to get hands-on experience working on a dairy farm. All the while he would also like to see state programs that enhance dairy farm profitability and develop markets for Missouri produced milk.
Hampy mainly focused on disease issues, specifically Trichomoniasis regulations. Trich is a venereal disease of cattle that can be extremely devastating for any dairy farmer. Cattle herds that are infected with the disease are fifty to seventy percent more likely to end up with calf drop due to infertility complications. According to Martin and Hampy, the department should move forward with a plan to modify the current rules in the swiftest manner possible and provide the necessary resources.
Among all things brought to attention, the committee is also looking at the federal milk pricing system and ways the state can bring milk prices in line with regional costs of producing milk. Missouri farmers produce more than $4.4 billion in dairy products each year while supporting up to 23,000 of Missouri’s jobs.
Listen as KMZU’s Josh Brunscher talks with Keli Smith, Director of Marketing and Commodities for the Farm Bureau about Tuesday’s Meeting.