Attendance was about average at the Moniteau County Farm Bureau annual dinner meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the California United Church of Christ Fellowship Hall.
Following the dinner, Board President Dennis Feezor called the meeting to order and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Chuck Massengill.
The guest speaker for the event was Mike Deering, Executive Vice President of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association. Deering spoke of his family's background in agriculture and his interest in doing what he can in the fight to preserve the farm and ranch industry. He said Farm Bureau worked to support the proposed "Right to Farm and Ranch" Constitutional Amendment, which will be on the ballot in 2014. Deering said the legislation came about because of the out-of-state groups trying to put farmers out of business, through restricting agricultural practices.
The supporters of the legislation those out-of-state organizations and groups attempt to interfere in many states, overregulating farm and ranch activity to a point making it economically impossible to continue in agriculture.
"Do you support local food?," Deering asked. "Do you support affordable food?'
The Missouri Farm Bureau, founded in 1915, speaks for farmers. Since few Americans have any connection with farm life, they have little real understanding of where their food comes from. Therefore, education of the public on agricultural production is a matter of major importance.
"A few years ago, some tried to outlaw youth working on farms and working with their hands," he said.
Deering said that a recent school improvement program of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) left out the people who intended to go directly into working with their hands, such as mechanics, farmers, or other skills. "They got so used to high school preaching 'college, college, college' they ignored those interested in working with their hands," he said.
The farm groups continue working with legislators to make changes. As an example, for years, if a cattle thief was caught, the penalty might be a year in jail. Because of the farm interests pushing for a remedy, now it is 15 years in prison for stealing cattle.
"We don't have to agree on everything," he said. " As long as we unite, we will not let them take those rights away from us."
Deering taught English in Thailand right after college. He then was a writer, and rose to editor for Western Livestock Journal. Afterwards, Deering was with the American Farm Bureau in Washington, D.C., for seven years. "It's good to be back in Missouri," he said.
William Inglish, a second year Agriculture Business student at University of Missouri-Columbia, is Missouri farm Bureau Ambassador. He speaks to other organizations about farm interests and visited Washington, D.C., in March to speak for agriculture.
Holly Eschenbrenner, Jamestown, presented the talk she will give for her candidacy for Farm Bureau Ambassador. She is a student at University of Missouri - Columbia studying education.
On behalf of the nominating committee, Andy Clay named the new board members nominated as Barry Eschenbrenner, Lisa Porter, Chuck Massengill and Dennis Feezor.