In a unique move, the Missouri Farm Bureau — and other agricultural organizations — have decided to back a 2020 gubernatorial candidate early. The endorsement of Republican Gov. Mike Parson comes more than eight months before a decision is traditionally made for the group.
“Governor Parson knows what it’s like to live and farm in rural Missouri, because he’s done it his whole life,” said Trent Drake, chairman of the Missouri Farm Bureau’s State Political Action Committee Trustees. “As a Senator he stood strong against well-funded out-of-state interests as the primary champion of Missouri’s Right to Farm Amendment. He has strongly advocated for rural Missouri during his time as Governor and will continue to support rural priorities like broadband internet, improved roads and bridges, and strong rural schools. We are proud to support him in this race.”
The trustees, who are selected by their county Farm Bureau organizations, voted unanimously to back Parson. The vote took place this week, a stark contrast to previous years when a decision was made during a summer conference.
The 63-year-old farmer, who rose to the rank of governor following the resignation of Eric Greitens, officially announced his intentions to seek a full term as governor on Sunday.
In the days following Parson’s announcement, a multitude of other agricultural organizations opted to back the sitting governor.
The Missouri Agribusiness Association, the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, the Missouri Corn Growers Association, the Missouri Pork Association, and the Missouri Soybean Association all have endorsed Parson.
“I am honored to have the strong support and confidence of Missouri’s agriculture community,” Parson said in a statement. “Growing up on a small farm, and later starting and running a cattle farm, I know the hard work Missouri farm families put in day in and day out to feed our country and the world and fuel our state’s agricultural economy. It was on the farm where I first learned the value of hard work, being a good neighbor and being a good steward of the land. These values have always stayed with me and I know anything is possible if you work hard. Thank you to all Missouri farmers for the work you do to make our state’s leading industry a success.”
The agriculture industry pointed to Parson’s background, from being a farmer himself to his advocacy of Right to Farm as a legislator, as a catalyst for its support.
“The governor has a record of going to bat for farmers and ranchers,” Marcus Belshe, chair of the Missouri Pork Association, said.
“His commonsense approach and ability to create partnerships — not partisan politics — make Governor Mike Parson the right person to continue leading our state forward,” said Mark Scott, president of the Missouri Corn Growers Association President.
“We know he will fight relentlessly for agriculture, which is the corner post of rural Missouri. He stands with us and we will fight for him and celebrate alongside him on November 3, 2020,” Bobby Simpson, president of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, said.
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined The Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.