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Agriculture omnibus bill poised to move through senate

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — An agriculture omnibus bill that failed a gubernatorial veto override by a single vote last year was perfected in the senate today without controversial language dealing with captive cervids, all but assuring it’s movement through the Missouri House.

SB 12 deals with several agricultural provisions, most predominantly the dairy industry. A significant portion of the bill is dedicated to the “Missouri Dairy Revitalization Act.” The act calls for the University of Missouri to conduct a study on the annual revenue generated by the sale of dairy products. The study will be annual, and the bill also directs the university to develop a plan for improving and growing the dairy industry in the state.

The bill also “requires the Department of Agriculture to establish a dairy producer insurance premium assistance program for producers who participate in the federal margin protection program for dairy producers. Participating producers shall be reimbursed for 70% of their federal premium payment.”

The program also makes 80 scholarships at $5,000 each for tuition at any college or university in the state for students in agriculture-related degree programs who make a commitment to work in the agricultural industry.

The bill also reduces Missouri Livestock Marketing Law fees, increases the threshold for weight restrictions on trucks carrying livestock or grain, extends the waiver of liability as it relates to injury or death during equine events, and enacts number of other provisions.

Last year, Gov. Jay Nixon, who largely cited language in the bill dealing with “captive cervids,” vetoed the bill. The legislature nearly overrode Nixon’s veto, suprassing it in the House only to see the measure fail by a single vote in the House. Language dealing with captive cervids — typically operations that allow individuals to hunt deer in a controlled environment — sparked a contentious debate last year.

Sen. Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, told reporters on the first day of the legislative session this year that the bill, without deer language, would be a top priority and would be one of the first pieces of legislation to leave the chamber.

“I will say, right up front, it does not have captive cervid language in here,” bill sponsor Sen. Brian Munzlinger said.

After a lengthy debate on an amendment offered by Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, which was ultimately defeated, the bill was perfect by the senate, leaving only a single symbolic vote before the bill moves to the house.

The bill was the first bill to be perfected by the senate this year.