Legislators plan to revive agriculture bill after Nixon veto
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri lawmakers say they're reviving an agricultural bill that was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon last session.
Originally the bill would have classified deer as "livestock" instead of "wildlife." This subtle change in name would have moved regulatory responsibility from the state Missouri Department of Conservation to the department of agriculture. The backers of the bill hoped the shift would free deer ranchers from conservation regulations banning the importation of deer and requiring double fencing for new ranching permits.
Now legislators plan to remove the deer requirements from the version of the bill they will use next session. Instead the bill will focus on the state-funding for insurance subsidy for dairy farmers, scholarships for students earning agricultural degrees and removing weight limits on cattle trucks.
When lawmakers attempted to override the Nixon's veto the effort was led by Missouri's dairy industry. The original bill would have given state subsidies to dairy farmers' to limit financial losses by paying farmers when the margin between milk prices and their feed costs goes below a determined amount. Additionally 80 college scholarships, worth up $5,000 each, would be given to students who get internships with at dairy farms and agree to work in Missouri after graduation.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture data more than half of the nation's dairy farms have closed in the last decade. 2,500 of these farms were in Missouri.
Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey says the bill should pass quickly.