The key to any piece of farm legislation is making sure that the protections we put in place ensure that our farmers can continue to succeed in a livelihood that has never been more important but has never been so difficult.

Agriculture is the backbone of our economy in North Missouri. Farmers encounter numerous challenges as they work to feed the world. Yet time and again, they prove that they are up to the challenge. We owe it to our farmers to make sure that the policies we put in place work for them.

Over the last 5 years, the farm economy has declined 52 percent! Droughts, floods and countless other effects of the weather, along with other uncertainties are just some of the inherent risks of being in agriculture.

Every few years, Congress takes a look at the current state of agriculture and writes legislation that you might know as the Farm Bill. As a sixth generation farmer, I know that as times change, so do the needs of our farmers. We must strengthen what is working and get rid of what isn’t.

The key to any piece of farm legislation is making sure that the protections we put in place ensure that our farmers can continue to succeed in a livelihood that has never been more important but has never been so difficult. Crop insurance programs must be maintained and strengthened so we ensure that one bad year or natural disaster doesn’t wipe out the family farm. Additionally, farmers will have an opportunity to pick the crop insurance program that works best for them. And, dairy and livestock programs will also be maintained and strengthened giving our producers needed certainty.

While it’s critical that we protect our farmers, I believe that the most helpful thing we can do in Washington in most situations is to get out of the way. I consistently hear about burdensome regulations that do the exact opposite. It doesn’t make any sense to put programs in place to help farmers and then tie them up in red tape. We must take every opportunity to do away with onerous rules.

At the same time, we must make sure that farmers in North Missouri can operate in the 21st Century. Technology is changing and improving farming every day. The farmer in the field is just as dependent on high speed internet as the banker in the big city. Ensuring that farmers, along with the rest of North Missouri, have access to high-speed broadband is critical for success. Giving the US Department of Agriculture the tools to make that happen will greatly move our rural way of life forward.

Agriculture is constantly changing. As always, I look forward to being a voice for rural America as we take up the Farm Bill. Our farmers’ way of life and the world’s supply of food is depends on it.