The FFA organization has been proactive in promoting agriculture in an ever-changing society. In his talk, Adam Kirby pointed out that “agriculture has developed into a vast industry of opportunity in areas encompassing everything from bio-technology to international marketing and trade.” He also pointed out that FFA is playing an instrumental role in growing future leaders for Missouri, as well as for the nation. Not only will these young people be future leaders of our country, they will also become research scientists, agriculturalists, farmers, ranchers, agri-business owners, and, perhaps, even politicians. As Kirby concluded his speech, he asked Missouri House members to continue to support the FFA as they strive to become leaders in communities and as they take their part in the world of agriculture.
In a related theme, last week (February 7 thru the 13) was observance of Thank a Farmer Week. The week is designed to remind Missourians about the vital role agriculture plays in our state. As our number one industry, it encompasses more than 100,000 farms located across approximately 29 million acres of state agricultural farm land. In addition of taking time to show appreciation of our state’s farmers, members of Missouri’s General Assembly worked together to pass a resolution that rejected an agricultural tax increase proposal by the Missouri State Taxing Commission.
On another note, this past week the House approved a bonding plan to provide funding for a new veteran’s home in our state. House Joint Resolution 54 (HJR 54) would allow Missouri voters to decide if the state should issue bonds to provide funding for construction of a new veteran’s home. House members gave bi-partisan support to a constitutional amendment that would generate $50 million in funds through the sale of bonds. This proposal is now on its way to the Senate. If approved there, the proposal will go to the Secretary of State’s office where it will then officially be placed on a 2016 ballot.
Missouri currently has seven veteran’s homes statewide—in Cameron, Warrensburg, Mexico, St. Louis, St. James, Cape Girardeau, and the newest home, in Mt. Vernon. These homes provide approximately 1,350 long-term skilled nursing care beds. However, there is an urgent need for additional beds, as more than 1,900 veterans are on a waiting list to get into a home. Our state’s seven veteran’s homes are under the management of the Missouri Veteran’s Commission, and the commission anticipates an increase of the number of veterans needing nursing care in future years. Consequently, the General Assembly has been looking for solutions to the pressing need of providing healthcare and adequate nursing care for our veterans at an affordable cost. If approved by voters this year, the state will begin the process of looking for a location to build its eighth veteran’s home.
Missouri House members, representing 163 districts across the Show-Me state, welcome the opportunity to recognize different groups during this year’s legislative session. To Missouri’s promising youth in the FFA organization and to those who farm Missouri land who provide food and fiber for millions, we give our encouragement. To our veterans who have served our nation proudly and passionately, we in the Missouri House of Representatives express our gratitude and say a most heartfelt thank you and pledge to do our best to give them needed care at this point in their lives.