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Hawkins: Farmers should be involved in climate discussion

Missouri Farm Bureau (MOFB) President Garrett Hawkins hopes to see farmers and agriculture producers more involved as the federal government focuses on combating climate change. 

“We deserve to be at the table for the climate discussion — that’s why we are being very proactive,” Hawkins said. “What we have an obligation to do is to make sure that the public understands that we are front-line conservationists providing environmental solutions and benefits every day.

“Leveraging federal farm bill programs and doing more at the state level to do common-sense conservation — that’s what I get excited about,” Hawkins said. 

Hawkins pointed to farm taxes earmarked for state parks and soil conservation as well as the timber management taking place on farms. 

MOFB spoke out against the use of federal “interim values” to regulate light-duty vehicle emission standards last month. A working group within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated the formula to estimate the cost of a pound of each greenhouse gas to be used to offset or recoup those costs through new regulations and policies, a standard MOFB warned would be used by a myriad of governmental agencies and lead to cost increases across several industries. 

Hawkins appeared on Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” alongside Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives (AMEC) CEO and Executive Vice President Caleb Jones to discuss rural broadband, telemedicine, the 2022 elections, and redistricting

Jones, who was in the House the last time Missouri’s maps were redrawn, said he expected more input from national members of both parties on the redistricting process given the results of elections across the nation this month and in 2020. 

“You can do all this stuff right now and you can make all these changes and file and run but at the end of the day, you don’t know where the congressional maps are going to lay out and what that is going to look like,” Jones said. “People are starting to get a lot more engaged in asking who these people are representing me, and I think COVID has helped a little bit of that as well. This trend is certainly going to have a large effect on the maps that are being drawn.”

Jones addressed speculation that he was going to enter the race for Missouri’s 4th congressional district, opting to focus on his work with the cooperatives and his family. 

Watch the full episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” below, or listen to the podcast version here