Click below to hear KMZU’s audio from the Linn County Area Agriculture Roundtable.
U.S. Representative Sam Graves Agriculture Roundtables for the northern agriculture communities in Missouri. One of these roundtables covered Linn County and KMZU was in the crowd, getting the information to bring to our listeners. The meeting began with a short presentation of information that Graves wanted to cover and then he dove right in to questions from the community. This allowed the community the opportunity not only to ask questions of concern, but to bring light to a lot of their opinions and make their voices heard. Representative Graves took both in stride and provided responses sans the political dance used to skirt around tough topics.
That’s not to say that all of Graves’ responses were ones that the community wanted to here, but at minimum the questions and concerns were not brushed off. When asked about the second amendment issue calling for a ban of a certain type of ammunition, commonly referred to as “green tip” ammunition, Graves confirmed that yes, that debate has been tabled. That gave a short lived sigh of relief for the community, because he quickly added, “for the moment,” at the end of his confirmation. Graves went on to unabashedly quote that he has heard President Obama use the phrase, “I’ll just go around Congress if I can’t get Congress to do what I want.”
KMZU’s Matt Gang asked Representative Graves what he would tell the younger generation farmers looking to break into the agribusiness. Graves didn’t waste time sugarcoating things and immediately explained how incredibly tough it is to do and why. He first mentioned the start up costs, buying or renting land to farm is expensive either way; especially with the larger area farming corporations that afford to pay higher prices to rent or give lower bids to farm ground for the landowners themselves. Graves did reiterate that there are government programs designed specifically for these young farmers and there’s a break in that.
Graves brought up a valid point that ties together two points of concern brought up at the roundtable. The two points are the expense for young farmers and the dwindling population in the northeastern sections of Missouri, which are smaller farming communities. Graves said that a challenge for starting farmers, is finding a job for the spouse. These smaller farming communities, where most young farmers start out, don’t typically have an abundance or variety of job offerings. There may be a solution within this problem. If there was a creation of job availability in these smaller communities, it might make it easier on a young couple breaking into the farming business in a small community.