House Ag. Policy chairman says farm background gives him insight into key issues

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — For 40 years, Bill Reiboldt has operated a farm north of Neosho, and until he recently sold 125 Holsteins, Reiboldt said his favorite part of farming was running a dairy operation.

“My farming operation was always in the dairy business,” Reiboldt said. “I loved it. Sometimes you get a little older and you need to make a change. We just sold the milk cows and kept the farm.”

Today, he raises beef cattle, along with some soybeans, alfalfa and wheat.

Another change for Reiboldt has been his ascension to state politics. Reiboldt, a Republican, was elected to the House in 2010, and has since risen to become chairman of the House Agriculture Policy Committee. He was re-elected to that spot in 2012.

A large priority for Missouri agriculture this year is actually outside of the Missouri General Assembly, Reiboldt noted. Farm groups are backing an amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would declare a right to farm and raise animals in the state.

The issue is set to be on the ballot in November.

“What we’re trying to do in regard to our farming rights amendment, it will give us some guarantee going into the future that Missourians will always have the right just to farm and raise their livestock in a humane way. I’m a farmer and cattlemen, and you don’t treat your animals poorly,” he said.

Critics of the amendment, however, have claimed it would offer cover for inhumane treatment of animals, but Reiboldt said he does not see it that way.

“You won’t make any money if you don’t treat them good and feed them properly and give good medical care,” he said. “We’re trying to educate the urban people that we’re not bad people out in the country and trying to take advantage. We really care about our animals.”

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