Gov. Jay Nixon visited the Coliseum on the Missouri State Fairgrounds to sign three pieces of agriculture-related legislation into law.
Nixon signed bills Friday afternoon relating to the cattle and biofuels sectors as well as one impacting Missouri farm families.
The first was Senate Bill 664, which is aimed at assisting family farms by waiving the requirement that an authorized farm corporation or family farm corporation file an annual corporate registration report with the Missouri Secretary of State when there has been no change to the corporation’s reported information, according to a news release. The release states only around 10 percent have a change to the reported information in any given year.
“This legislation cuts red tape for family farms by removing the hassle of filing redundant paperwork and paying unneeded fees year after year when there has been no substantial change to a farm’s business,” Nixon explained. “This proposal has been brought forward by Secretary of State Jason Kander whose office handles this paperwork and I appreciate his effort to make sure government is more efficient and effective for the people it serves.”
Senate Bill 665 is the 2017 agriculture omnibus bill, which Nixon said is in part a result of Missouri’s beef initiative launched two years ago that brought together producers, scientists, packers, corn and soybean growers and legislators from around the state to exchange ideas to keep more of Missouri’s cattle in-state.
According to a release, SB665 re-authorizes the existing Qualified Beef Tax Credit until 2021 and changes the tax credit amount to 10 cents per pound for sale weights under 600 pounds and 25 cents per pound for sale weights over 600 pounds, not to exceed $15,000.
“(SB665 also) creates (the Meat Processing Facility Investment Tax Credit for taxpayers) who build, update or invest in their meat processing facility,” Nixon said. “All these are very important pieces that can help us strengthen where we are already. These provisions are meant to address the central issue facing Missouri beef — right now Missouri ranks third in the nation in cow calf production, but nearly all those animals leave Missouri before they’re full grown and are finished and processed in other states. That means Missouri is missing out on more than a billion dollars in value every year. By finishing even 10,000 more of these calves, Missouri stands to gain $6 million in economic value.
“With these provisions we’ll keep livestock here longer, keep more of that investment in rural communities.”
Nixon added that SB665 also includes expanding the Farm-to-School program to the Farm-to-Table program, which, according to a release, expands eligibility of the program to connect Missouri farmers with correctional facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities and military bases.
Nixon also signed SB657, which supports the biofuels industry by promoting the installation of blended fuel pumps at more gas stations throughout the state. According to a news release, the new law will ensure the liability insurance gas stations are already required to have will also provide coverage for the release of blended fuels from incompatible storage tanks.
Nixon, who serves as the 2016 chairman of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, noted that Missouri produces 200 million gallons of biodiesel and 300 million gallons of ethanol each year, “making the biofuel segment a significant factor in agriculture.”
“All together these three bills represent the continued and unwavering commitment to the No. 1 industry in our state,” Nixon said. “And more importantly than that, the families that keep the industry up and running every single day.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.