Our Opinion: Welcome incentives for state’s top industry

Missouri lawmakers have approved some much-needed assistance for Missouri's top industry.

This past week, the Missouri Legislature passed the Agricultural Economic Opportunities bill to add new and extended tax credits to state agriculture.

As we reported, the bill, sponsored by Rep. Brad Pollitt, R-Sedalia, would extend the tax credits on meat processing facility expansion and modernization and wood energy credits.

Missouri's farmers, particularly, small family farms, need tax credits and incentives to keep their operations running.

"Right now, farmers are paying in hay and fertilizer to keep their farms going," Pollitt said in our recent story. "This has caused an issue for cattle farmers who rely on that hay, which is adding more problems to the supply chain."

Missouri is the third-largest producer of cattle in the United States, but the butchering systems are lacking, causing a bottleneck in beef and pork production.

The bill should help in this regard by providing incentives for needed facilities to expand and become more efficient.

Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, supports a wood energy tax credit in the bill that will incentivize the use of discarded sawdust and other wood refuse.

"It's cheaper just to let it sit on the ground than it is to pay somebody to haul it away," he said, "but you can't really let it sit on the ground because it causes problems."

The bill has an emergency clause that will allow it to take effect immediately, rather than waiting until Aug. 28, the normal day for new legislation to take effect.

We encourage Gov. Mike Parson to sign the Agricultural Economic Opportunities bill to give our agriculture industry a much-needed boost.

News Tribune