Every August, I visit farms, ranches, and agriculture businesses across Missouri’s 8th Congressional District as part of my Farm Tour. The annual tradition is an opportunity to not only showcase these families, farms and small businesses, but also to learn more about the challenges they face with the federal government, whether it’s trade, federal regulations, or the sky-high costs of everything from feed and fertilizer to energy and farm equipment.
Farmers and ranchers in Missouri produce the best agriculture products found anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, the Biden administration’s non-existent trade agenda is a major cause of concern for Missouri farmers and ranchers. During my stops at Inland Cape Rice Company in Scott City and Clark Farms in Poplar Bluff, the farm families shared their frustration that the U.S. is allowing our trade partners to get away with violating the terms of trade agreements. The Harris family, owners of Ozark Valley Beef in Edgar Springs, said that their business would greatly benefit from having access to consumers in other nations who are eager to purchase their high-quality Wagyu beef. As Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade policy, I’m fighting tooth and nail to get the Biden administration to wake up when it comes to trade, whether it’s holding our trade partners accountable or expanding access for U.S. agriculture products.
The Lowerys, owners of Lowery Acres in Puxico, are a prime example of so many family-owned farms and business in southern Missouri: a multi-generational farm family who just wants to grow their business without the government getting in their way. At Simple Grow, an innovative company in Houston that turns worm castings into fertilizer, it was infuriating to hear that the Environmental Protection Agency is regulating their product as a pesticide even though it’s 100% natural. And during my stop at Colt Rock and Lime, a mining company in Patterson, the family-owned business said they’re having to dedicate precious time and resources making sure they’re dotting every “I” and crossing every “T” in the mountains of paperwork they have to fill out to avoid drawing the ire of a federal agency. I’ve always said that the best government is one that’s closest to the people. That’s why getting the federal government off the backs of farmers, ranchers, and small businesses will always be a top priority for me.
Every Farm Tour is an opportunity to highlight why rural Missouri is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Ruth Graber-Wilcox and Byron Wilcox, owners of Silver Springs Ranch in West Plains, donated a portion of their cattle ranch to a charity they founded that will host retreats for ministers. At Cim-Tek Filtration, a manufacturer that recently opened a new facility in Kennett, the family-owned business praised the local workforce and underscored how much they appreciated having the support of state and local officials and other businesses in the community.
I am so proud to represent the hardworking folks of southern Missouri, where my family has lived for 7 generations. That’s why it makes my blood boil to have an administration that has shown complete disregard for our rural communities. But make no mistake: I will never stop fighting to advance policies that will create a better foundation for farmers, ranchers, and small businesses to compete and succeed.