OPINION

Congressman Smith Capitol Report: So God Made A Missouri Farmer

Jason Smith

Every year I look forward to my annual summer visits to different farming operations and Agriculture industry-related businesses across the 30 counties which make up Missouri’s 8th Congressional District. This was a tradition started by my predecessors and I am proud to have carried that tradition on every year since being elected to the U.S. Congress. 

As a fourth-generation family farm owner, I take special pride in representing and fighting for the thousands of farming families who call southern Missouri home. Thanks to these hardworking men and women, we have some of the highest quality, plentiful, and diverse agriculture products found anywhere in the country. Farmers in southern Missouri feed the world. I constantly remind those who have never set foot on a farm that if they want to see what it takes to work day in and day out, from sunrise to sunset, then come to southern Missouri and see what hard work really is. 

Spending my summer crisscrossing southern Missouri and meeting with the different farmers, business owners, families, and their customers is always the highlight of my year. It’s an opportunity to spotlight not only the vibrant and diverse agricultural community here in southern Missouri, but to recognize the dedicated and talented farmers, workers, and families that live throughout our area. These meetings and visits give me the chance to hear people’s thoughts, ideas, and feedback on all aspects of government. These conversations are invaluable as they generate the policy proposals I am able to share with my colleagues about how to best help rural America succeed.

These summer stops gave me crucial insights and feedback that helped me identify the most intrusive government regulations that hamper our nation’s farmers. I’ll never forget in the winter of 2016, less than five months after the conclusion of my summer farm visits, I met with then President-Elect Donald Trump’s team and provided them with regulation after regulation that farmers in southern Missouri had told me were hurting their ability to operate. Then, over the course of President Trump’s first year in office, he directly repealed, suspended, or removed more than half of the regulations identified by our area farmers. 

These included a number of onerous regulations put in place by the Obama-Biden Administration, like the disastrous Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which attempted to regulate any body of water, be it a ditch, pond or creek, passing through or standing on private land.  Throughout his entire time in office, whenever I met with President Trump, he always asked me what I’m hearing from farmers and how his administration could help. All told, he removed thousands of pages of red tape that was holding back American farmers and families, saving the average household over $3,000 per year in regulatory costs.

I’m eager to get back out on the road to see the impact of the Biden administration’s policies first-hand. From day one with his executive orders, this administration has deprioritized rural America. 

They brought back the harmful WOTUS rule and have advocated Green New Deal policies that will make it harder for farmers and ranchers to grow crops or raise livestock. Their tax-and-spend policies are causing prolonged inflation, which is impacting farmers in multiple ways – whether it’s selling their products or growing them. And they’ve proposed a second death tax that will hit family farms the hardest. No family farming operation should have to deal with this type of onslaught. 

Missouri farmers face new threats to our way of living each and every day. Our battle against those who don’t understand how food gets on their plate will never end. I’m blessed you’ve elected me to ensure our rural economy is strengthened and preserved for the next generation of farmers. I look forward to reconnecting with so many of you this summer and hope to see you while I’m out and about.

Congressman Jason Smith, R-MO, represents Rolla in Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District.