Agriculture

Having grown up on farms in Missouri, Senator Blunt has always been deeply engaged in the policies that impact our farm families and food supply in Missouri and nationwide.

Missouri has more than 100,000 individual farms – the second highest number of farms of any state in the nation. Senator Blunt understands that agriculture is a key driver in America’s economic recovery, which is why he continues to call on Congress to pass a long-term Farm Bill to provide more certainty for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. He’s also helped lead congressional efforts to ensure Missourians have the resources they need to recover from record droughts and flooding statewide.

As the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, Senator Blunt played a vital role in writing the fiscal year 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill. This legislation maintained vital support for research and extension at land grant universities, capacity building grants for non-land grant colleges of agriculture, and competitive funding under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). The bill also included funding for conservation activities, housing and business loan programs for rural communities, domestic and international nutrition programs.

During the debate surrounding the Continuing Resolution (CR) in March 2013, Senator Blunt introduced an amendment to prevent unnecessary food inspector furloughs at meat, poultry, and egg production facilities as a result of sequestration. Without this amendment, USDA’s projected food inspector furloughs would lead to the closure of nearly 6,300 food inspection facilities across America. As a result, over 500,000 industry workers would have lost nearly $400 million in wages. That includes 43,000 Missourians working at 148 facilities. This amendment passed the U.S. Senate along with the FY13 Agricultural Appropriations bill on March 20, 2013.

Americans work all their lives paying income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes – only to have the government raid their farms, ranches, and small businesses when they pass away. That’s why Senator Blunt supports efforts to repeal the death tax, which is a devastating blow to farmers, ranchers, and small businesses who are trying to transition from one generation to the next. This onerous tax also disproportionately hurts states like Missouri, which relies heavily on agriculture revenue.

Senator Blunt understands that Missouri’s farmers and ranchers face the challenge of feeding, fueling, and clothing a growing world on less land using fewer resources. That’s why he supports continued investments in agricultural research and engineering. Sound agricultural research is the cornerstone to success in all aspects of the agriculture industry and helps make it possible for one farmer to produce enough food for 155 people. This research is also vital for us to meet global food demand, which is expected to double by 2050. Investing in agricultural research and engineering will help us develop more efficient production methods, eradicate pests and disease, maintain a safe food supply, and enhance the nutritional quality of our diets.

Agriculture is one of the few sectors of our economy that enjoys a trade surplus. U.S. farm exports help support more than 1 million jobs in America, and Missouri exports support 37,000 jobs in food processing, storage and transportation. Senator Blunt played a lead role in the passage of the free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia in 2011, which have provided new economic opportunities for Missouri farmers and ranchers. Senator Blunt will continue to fight to increase agriculture exports through additional free trade agreements and greater access to global markets.