By Amy Fuemmeler
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt expressed frustration with Congress not passing legislation that could potentially benefit the agriculture community during his speech at the annual agriculture forum hosted by Missouri State last Tuesday.
"The House is doing a lot of work, passing a lot of bills, none of which will become law," Blunt said. "The senate takes a totally different approach, which we don't pass any bills and they don't become laws either. The constitutional part of the government is just not running like you and I think it should."
The Missouri State University Collegiate Farm Bureau sponsored the forum held at the Christopher Bond Learning Center at the William H. Darr School of Agriculture.
Blunt and Rep. Billy Long attended the forum to speak about current and upcoming agriculture legislature and to field questions from audience members.
According to Samantha Warner, president of the Missouri State University Collegiate Farm Bureau, this year was the 13th agricultural forum. Blunt has attended all but one forum, and this was Long's first.
Justin Mauss, a freshman agriculture education major, said he enjoyed attending the forum.
"I thought the ag forum was interesting," Mauss said. "It was a good chance because you aren't always connected with what's going on in Washington, D.C."
The first topic Blunt discussed was the bill the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to pass, stating that farming must be performed without dust, according to Blunt.
"They've spent a lot of time and effort on this rule to try to prevent fugitive dust, that is dust that will go from your field to somebody else's field," Blunt said. "All these things will do is not allow us to be the competitive country we are."
According to Long, the EPA is also trying to pass legislation to name manure as a hazardous waste. It would not be able to be used as fertilizer, or for any other purpose, he said.
"We have got to send a big signal here, right now, that EPA can't stand for end production agriculture," Blunt said.
Blunt is part of a committee that has recently been working on a Senate transportation bill.
Farmers would be able to drive for an agricultural purpose within a 150-mile radius of their property without having to get a commercial driver's license and the other transportation licenses needed.
Both Blunt and Long have to deal with their constituents and the concerns they have.
Long was approached by the deer raisers of Missouri, those who raise deer and transport them across the country to game farms. The government is trying to pass legislation that states they must let the deer out of the trailers at rest stops to graze, according to Long.
"That's the type of battles Roy and I fight every day up in Washington," Long said.
Students can get involved in these issues by writing letters and making phone calls to senators and congressman.
Blunt can be reached at his Springfield office at 2740B East Sunshine. You can call his Springfield office at (417) 877-7814. Blunt can also be contacted by submitting a contact form (email) on his website at http://Blunt.senate.gov/public/.
Billy Long can be reached at his Springfield office at 3232 E. Ridgeview St. or calling 417-889-1800. You can submit an email at https://longforms.house.gov/email-billy.
"The more you all work together to bring good projects to the table, the more we all have to talk about," Blunt said.