Congressman Jason Smith (MO-08) met with local farmers this week at Cold Spring Farm in Phelps County. This month Congressman Smith is discussing the unique challenges facing farmers and ranchers all across southern Missouri.
At Cold Spring Farm, former Army Ranger Josh Morris raises registered Boer goats and grass-fed cattle. The Morris family describes their farm as off the grid, but they’re connected to the global market, where goat meat is one of the most consumed meats in the world.
While discussing federal agriculture policy with Congressman Smith and Missouri Farm Bureau Board Member Charles Bassett, Morris said part of the reason he felt comfortable getting into the goat market was seeing how much goat was consumed overseas and the wide variety of American goods available while he was serving in the military.
“American farmers feed the world,” said Congressman Smith. “I tell everyone in Congress four out of four people eat, so you should care about agriculture. That’s why I visit so many farms and agribusinesses in southern Missouri, to share stories like the Morris family’s and convince members who don’t represent agricultural districts that agriculture is essential to everybody in America.”
Morris, who once taught at Army Ranger School, now teaches an environmental science class at Drury University. He believes an understanding of agriculture can help children grow into responsible adults.
“If you get more people involved in agriculture, it will solve so many of our problems, even morally. Those issues facing kids today tend to be solved when they feel a connection with the land,” said Morris.
The Morris family worked with Missouri Soil and Water Conservation to restore the land and make it suitable for grazing. The family farm utilizes daily rotational grazing, taught at local grazing school, to increase soil and grass health. According to the USDA, rotational grazing saves money for farmers and increases the quality and health for both the livestock and the land.