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Opinion: Flipping the Bird to Science 

Why are you who you are? It’s the experiences. It’s the good times, the failures, the pain and everything along the way that mold us into who we are. I’ve been blessed with many opportunities in my life. My career journey took me to places I wouldn’t have gone to otherwise. 

I’ve worked alongside cattle producers in Egypt trying to be more efficient and modernize the way they feed cattle and water buffalo for beef consumption. I’ve worked with farmers in Morocco thirsty for knowledge and eager to learn. I’ve been to a lot of countries that want what we have when it comes to food production. These farmers embrace technology and desperately want access to it.

I’ve also seen what food insecurity looks like. I’ve watched helplessly as children in Cambodia fought in the middle of the street over a piece of bread. I opened my backpack and grabbed a Snickers to give to a little girl who had blood running down her face from fighting. My host grabbed me aggressively. He told me to let the girl be or they would kill her for that candy bar. I walked away.

Most of us don’t know what hunger feels like. We are blessed to have the most productive agricultural network in the world because of innovative farm and ranch families. Yet, we have groups like the Missouri Rural Crisis Center who want to roll Missouri agriculture backwards and flip the bird to sound science. They want us to stand still and somehow produce food for the world the same way we farmed decades ago. They hate progress and expect the next generation to ignore advancements in agriculture and simply buy a mule and a plow. 

This hate does more than put farmers out of business. This is about food security. We will need to produce more food in the next 40 years than we have in the last 10,000 combined. If our farm and ranch families are going to meet this challenge, we must be innovative and embrace sound science and technology that allow us to do more with less. We need farms and ranches of all sizes and all production methods to meet demands. Pitting farmer against farmer is a game for the Missouri Rural Crisis Center. It’s dangerous and it needs to stop.

The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association is part of a coalition of nearly 30 groups supporting Senate Bill 391. This legislation, sponsored by Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, stops counties from passing scientifically unfounded rules and regulations more stringent than or inconsistent with the science-based regulations promulgated by the Department of Natural Resources and other agencies. It stops the patchwork of regulations and provides certainty for the next generation of farmers and ranchers responsible for growing and raising food for Missouri and beyond. 

Let’s quit gut-punching progress by flipping the bird to science. The erosion of science will mean more empty plates. 

Mike Deering is a family farmer from Montgomery City, Mo., and executive vice president of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association.