January 24, 2002

Rep. Berkowitz Appoints Ag. Subcommittees

State Rep. Berkowitz, D-Memphis, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, is moving to help implement recommendations of the governor's task force on agriculture by assigning subcommittees to take a closer look at each of the four sections of the task force report.

"It's our hope that by studying the recommendations in small groups, we can come up with specific recommendations for bills, rules and regulation modification, and appropriation pursuant to each subcommittee's assigned portion of the task force report," said Rep. Berkowitz.

The "One Missouri, One Agriculture" task force was a 39 member task force appointed by the Governor. Members spent the summer holding a series of six hearings in locations around the state listening to testimony on all aspects of agriculture. The resulting report made four major, broad recommendations for the continued health of Missouri agriculture. The recommenda-tions are as follows:

1. Create a more favorable business climate for Missouri agriculture.

2. Drive new and expanded product and market development for Missouri agriculture products, both raw and processed.

3. Expand access to capital for business creation and expansion.

4. Create an organizational and communications infra-structure to better serve the needs of the ag community.

Rep. Berkowitz assigned a subcommittee to study each of the recommendations during the first Meeting of the House Agriculture Committee at the State Capitol, January 15. The meeting included the full Senate Agriculture Committee as well. The two committees heard testimony from state agriculture director Lowell Mohler, and from Dr. Tom Payne, Dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Missouri as they shared their opinions on the state of agriculture in Missouri. The committees will meet together again Wednesday, January 23rd at 3:00 p.m. to hear from representatives of the Missouri Farm Bureau, the Farmers' Union and commodity groups.

"Both Senate Ag. Committee Chairman Sen. Bill Foster and I agree that starting together on the ground level is important to the ag community, and to the citizens of this state," said Rep. Berkowitz.

The following is a list of the House Agriculture Committee subcommittees and their members.

Recommendation #1. Creating a more favorable business climate for Missouri agriculture: Rep. Phil Britt, D-Kennett (Chairman); Rep. Sam Berkowitz, D-Memphis; Rep. Lanie Black, R-Charleston; Rep. Nancy Copenhaver, D-Moberly; Rep. Bill Gratz, D-Wardsville; Rep. Van Kelly, R-Norwood; Rep. Jerry King, R-Butler.

Recommendation #2. Devel-oping new and expanded product and market development opportunities for Missouri agricultural products, both raw and processed. Rep. Wes Shoemyer, D-Clarence (Chair-man); Rep. Frank Barnitz, D-Lake Spring; Rep. Berkowitz; Rep. Shannon Cooper, R-Clinton; Rep. Bob Mayer, R-Dexter; Rep. Peter Myers, R-Sikeston; Rep. Phil Smith, D- Louisiana.

Recommendation #3. Expan-ding access to capital for business creation and expansion. Rep. D.J. Davis, D-Odessa (Chairman); Rep. Matt Boatright, R-Sedalia; Rep. Gary Kelly, D-Richmond; Rep. Estil Robirds, R-Theodosia; Rep. Jim Seigfreid, D-Marshall; Rep. Shoemyer.

Recommendation #4. Creating an organizational and communications infrastructure to better serve the needs of the agricultural community. Rep. Mark Hampton, D-Summersville; Rep. Berkowitz; Rep. Ken Legan, R-Halfway; Rep. Danielle Moore, R-Fulton; Rep. Francis Overschmidt, D-Union; Rep. Merrill Townley, R-Chamois; Rep. Jim Whorton, D-Trenton.

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