June 21, 2001

Governor Names Local Farmers To State Agriculture Task Force

Scotland County will have a strong voice in future agricultural policy in the state of Missouri. Two local residents were named to the recently formed agricultural task force that is expected to provide key input on Missouri's farm policies to be shaped by the state government.

John Eggleston and Brent Rockhold were among the 38 members named by Missouri Governor Bob Holden to serve on the newly formed committee.

On June 13 Governor Bob Holden convened the members of the agricultural task force he has formed to find ways to improve Missouri's agricultural industry.

The "One Missouri, One Agriculture" task force members, representing farmers, agri-business, universities, commodity organizations and the legislature, met with Holden in Jefferson City to hear his goals for Missouri agriculture.

Two days earlier the governor had named 38 people to the task force, which is chaired by Lowell Mohler, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Speaking at the Ashland farm of Joel Bullard, owner of Bullard Seed Company, Holden said the task force will host a series of meetings throughout the state this summer to get input from farmers and others involved in the state's food and fiber industry and make recommendations for improve-ment.

"I've asked this task force to meet with rural Missourians to find out what we can do to make sure our state remains competitive in the agriculture marketplace and to lay the groundwork for significant achievements in the 21st century," Holden said. "Missouri has long been an agricultural leader, but today we face many challenges. We must capitalize on our diverse agricultural resources to meet consumer demand and the needs of an ever-changing society."

"My challenge to you is to examine the issues facing Missouri farmers and agri-businesses and make recommendations for improving our state's vital agriculture industry," Holden told the group. "It is imperative that we hear from rural Missourians to find out what we can do to continue to be an agricultural leader and to take Missouri's position in the global marketplace to even greater heights."

Following Holden's remarks, task force members divided into subcommittees that will address issues such as marketing, value-added agriculture, food safety, biotechnology, transportation and the environment. These topics are expected to be raised during a series of meetings the task force will hold this summer to get input and recommendations from farmers and others involved in the state's food and fiber industry. The grassroots input will likely drive state agriculture policy and legislative priorities.

"The regional meetings will provide an opportunity for those with a stake in agriculture to help develop a vision for the industry's future," Holden said. "The information gleaned at these sessions will help identify issues and situations that might be holding agriculture back and will provide direction on ways we can capitalize on our diverse agricultural resources to meet consumer demand and the needs of an ever-changing society."

Holden plans to present the task force's findings at the annual Governor's Conference on agriculture in December.

The schedule for the regional meetings is:

July 10 at St. Joseph

July 11 at Kirksville

July 17 at Springfield

July 18 at Sikeston

August 1 at St. Louis

August 13 at Sedalia

Times and locations for the meetings are still to be announced.

Anyone wanting to speak at one of the meetings is asked to register in advance by writing the Missouri Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 630, Jefferson City, Missouri, 65102, by calling (573) 751-2477 or by fax at (573) 751-1784. Your name, address, telephone number and the topic you would like to speak about should be included.

One Missouri, One Agriculture Task Force Subcommittees

Marketing and Market Development:

David Blakemore, cotton producer, chair; Sidney Johnson, state senator, vice-chair; Gina Bowman-Morrill, Farmland Industries; Brooks Hurst, Missouri Soybean Association; Brent Sandidge, Missouri Pork Producers Association; Ken Legan, state representative.

Information, Education, Family and Consumer Focus:

Sue King, USDA Farm Service Agency, chair; Maida Coleman, state representative, vice-chair; Julie Ridlon, Clayton Farmers' Market; Dana Staley, FFA; Carol Starbuck, Missouri Sheep Producers Inc.; Dr. William Stringer, University of Missouri-Columbia, College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources.

Food Safety and Security, Biotechnology and the Life Sciences:

Tom Payne, Dean, University of Missouri-Columbia, College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources; Ed Nierman, Missouri Dairy Association; Ronnie Alewel, Missouri Association of Meat Processors; Don Copenhaver, MFA, Inc., Cara Copenhaver, 4-H; Bill Foster, state senator.

Agriculture Integration, Value-Added Agriculture and Rural Development:

John Eggleston, Northeast Missouri Grain Processors, chair; Wes Shoemyer, state representative, vice-chair; Charles Kruse, Missouri Farm Bureau Federation; Jerry Lough, Missouri Forest Products/Canoak USA, Inc.; Russ Kremer, Missouri Farmers Union; Daryl Oldvader, Farm Credit Services.

Transportation & Agriculture Structure and Infrastructure:

Jim McRoberts, McRoberts Farm, chair; Rich Stegmann, Lange-Stegmann Fertilizer Company, vice-chair; Morris Westfall, state senator; Gary Mahnken, Missouri Cattlemen's Association; Bill Riggins, Missouri Ag Industries/Riggins R-Co., Inc.; Robert Meyer, Meyer Implement Company.

Conservation and the Environment:

Larry Harper, Missouri Ruralist, chair; Peter Myers, state representative, vice-chair; Don Steen, poultry producer; Marvin Emerson, Missouri Aquaculture Council; Brent Rockhold, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council; Gary Wiggins, state representative.

Contact information for the local committee members was provided.

John Eggleston - RR 2, Box 34 Memphis, MO 63555 - (660) 328-6296.

Brent Rockhold Chairman Missouri Corn Merchandising Council Rt. 1, Box 226 Arbela, MO 63432 (660) 945-3967.

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