Click below to hear KMZU’s Ashley Johnson speak with State Representative Bill Reiboldt about the Missouri Dairy Revitalization Act of 2015.
The 2015 Missouri Dairy Revitalization Act is awaiting just one more vote to pass from the House of Representatives to be heard at the Senate level. This is a rewrite of the same bill that was vetoed by Missouri’s Governor Jay Nixon last year. According to Representative Bill Reiboldt, the governor vetoed the bill due to the inclusion of captive deer and the term wildlife being included in the bill. This year the bill only includes dairy and is considered to be a livestock bill; the deer and wildlife are considered to be a Missouri Conservation issue and not one for the Department of Agriculture.
The new bill is comprised of three main points. First, there is the creation of a dairy producer margin insurance premium assistance program. The purpose is to assist producers (who participate) by paying them a indemnity when the income for milk over the cost of feed drops below an insured level. An indemnity means, a security or a protection against loss or a financial burden. Representative Reiboldt says this is not something dairy producers will be able to, “get rich off of,” by any means, but because dairy production seems to run on a three year cycle, it will help them make ends meet in bad year. Studies show that dairy production tends to have three consecutive high productions years, followed by a down year. This indemnity will help the producers during the years of slack production.
The second part of the bill is targeted towards education and is formatted so Missouri agriculture is the focus. Missouri students that are interested in a career in agriculture, or specifically dairy production, could be eligible for a scholarship. If passed, the Missouri Dairy Revitalization Act would create a Missouri Dairy Scholarship Program. This scholarship program would provide a $5,000 annual scholarship payable to any Missouri four-year university/college or two-year junior college for agriculture-related scholars who agree to work for at least two years in Missouri agribusiness. The recipients of this scholarship will work summers at a Missouri dairy farm and will be compensated for their time by wages the farmer will pay.
The final part of the bill is focused on future planning for the Missouri dairy industry. The University of Missouri’s Commercial Agriculture Program will conduct a study each year on the industry. From the data found, the program will develop a plan for growing and enhancing the dairy industry in Missouri. The results will be reported to the Missouri Department of Agriculture by January 1st of each year.
With all parts of the bill considered, it would be an overall benefit to Missouri’s dairy industry, as well as Missouri agriculture and agribusiness.