In the coming days, one of the last of the President's 15 Cabinet Secretaries will be confirmed by the Senate. Sonny Perdue, who was raised by farmers and was Georgia’s Governor from 2003-2011, will then become the 31st Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Agriculture is one of the few sectors in which America has a trade surplus with other nations. It’s even more important to North Missouri - where the economies of so many of our rural communities are driven by farming.
That’s why it’s so important to me - as one of the handful of farmers in Congress - to be a voice for agriculture in Washington, D.C.
A host of factors are constantly at work against farmers and the agriculture industry. Aside from the huge costs of starting out, which prevent young Americans from getting into farming in the first place, we’re also price takers on both sides - on all of our inputs and all of our outputs. When you add in the uncertainty of relying on Mother Nature, it makes our industry that much more volatile and that much more difficult.
But America’s farmers feed the world. That’s why we need to continue working to get young people farming, supporting groups like the Missouri Farm Bureau and FFA that do a great job promoting agriculture.
Last week I spent time traveling around North Missouri, speaking with people in our communities and visiting some of the businesses that employ them. One of those events was an agriculture town hall at the Kirksville farm campus of Truman State University. I got to talk with people from across northeast Missouri about the problems facing the Ag industry, as well as a host of other issues.
A recent Mizzou study on agriculture trends showed us that financial pressures on the U.S. farm sector continue to deter America’s youth from entering the business of feeding the world. That's a huge problem.
Over the next few months, the House Agriculture Committee and every farmer in Congress - myself included - will begin crafting the next Farm Bill. In it, we must emphasize partnerships with the private sector that can train and attract a new generation of American farmer. Because a future without farms is simply not an option.