There are no greater stewards of the land and animals than farmers. There is also no doubt that our farmers and ranchers are responsible for serving America as the breadbasket of the world.
As a former small farmer who raised hogs and cattle to help pay my way through college and still enjoys working on my 160-acre farm, it is amazing that government today is intent on attacking what is considered a noble calling.
Each day, whether at home or in Washington, I have heard story after story from farm families from across the 13 counties that make up the 3rd District who feel under attack from regulators and bureaucrats who want to tell folks how to do their life's work. These are the same bureaucrats and regulators, both federal and state, who wouldn't know the difference between a heifer and a bull, even if you drew them a picture.
There is no doubt that agriculture is vital to thousands of hard-working folks in the 3rd District and Missourians as a whole. About 16 percent of Missouri jobs are tied to agriculture and this is something I keep in my mind during my days in Congress and also did during my time as a state lawmaker.
And clearly, today's state lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle understand that agriculture is still very much part of our state's lifeblood.
Many of us in Congress have seen the challenges and pressures facing agriculture and certainly see, hear and learn about them when traveling outside of Washington, D.C.
There also is a general sense that attempts are underway in parts of the country to restrict agriculture. Whether it was the farm child labor rule or the new definitions of bodies of water under the Clean Water Act to attempts to restrict the burning of wood by the Environmental Protection Agency, the government clearly is intent on stacking the deck against farmers and ranchers on behalf of liberal interests.
These interests represent the same folks that claim farmers and ranchers don't care for the environment or their animals, a claim that is counter intuitive to what these salt-of-the-earth folks are trying to accomplish in the first place.
I, and many of my colleagues in Congress, have been doing our best to interject common sense and look out for the interests of farmers, ranchers and consumers and it all starts with our farm families here at home and across the nation.
In Missouri, it is a thrill to see so many Show Me State farmers, ranchers and non-farm folks standing together working to ensure that farming remains a vital and integral part of our economy.
Agriculture is an under-the-radar industry and we must do all we can to let our voices be heard at every opportunity to protect it.
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., represents the state's 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office can be reached at 573-635-7232.