Boosting the Efforts of Eco-friendly Farms

Dawn Nicklas

by Dawn Nicklas

Missouri is one of our country’s largest producers of agricultural products, and MCE has been engaged for decades holding factory farms accountable and supporting the efforts of eco-friendly ones throughout our state. HB 2720, the Specialty Agricultural Crops Act, is a bill MCE drafted that will create a new loan program to help small local farmers grow even more fruits and vegetables deemed “specialty crops” in the state! This bill is sponsored by Rep. Emily Weber (D-Kansas City) and co-sponsored by Rep. Jeff Knight (R-Lebanon). The companion Senate Bill 1157 is sponsored by Senator Justin Brown (R-Rolla).

Both HB 2720 and Senate Bill 1157 received hearings and bipartisan unanimous support to “Do Pass” from committees to further their passage.

Supporting small-scale farms who grow specialty crops will provide substantial nutritious food for local communities to purchase and consume along with helping build soil health on these farms by way of growing multiple types of crops on the same field. The term “specialty crops” also covers a wide array of important products, such as tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture.

Another bill we helped draft this legislative session is HB 2833, again sponsored by Rep. Emily Weber with co-sponsor Rep. Yolanda Young (D-Kansas City). This bill includes formulating policies and programs to improve soil and watershed health. Any attempt to improve the health of soil in our state produces healthier food, protects water quality, improves biological and microbiological diversity, improves biodiversity, and also improves farmland ability to capture carbon to retain in the soil.

How we grow our food makes an enormous difference on our water and air quality as well as our ability to combat climate change. MCE will continue leading the way to make Missouri a model for eco-friendly farming practices.