December 01, 2009
Missouri Department of Agriculture Urges Tax Commission Not to Increase Agricultural Taxes
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has gone on record opposing any increases in assessments on farm land. In written testimony to the State Tax Commission on Nov. 20, 2009, the Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler sent the following letter to the Commission:
Mr. Bruce Davis, Chairman
Ms. Jennifer Tidwell, Commissioner
Mr. Bill Ransdall, Commissioner
State Tax Commission of Missouri
P.O. Box 146
Jefferson City, MO 65102
While I certainly appreciate the State Tax Commission's statutory responsibility, I hope you will oppose any increase in land values resulting in higher property taxes to Missouri farmers and strongly support a decrease in the values for pasture and timber land.
Agriculture has always been a vital and preeminent part of Missouri's overall economy. In many communities across our great state, agriculture is not only the most important industry, it is the only industry. Core government functions such as county roads, schools and law enforcement as well as small businesses like grocery stores, gas stations, insurance companies, family medical practices and even our churches, depend directly on the financial well being of hard working Missouri farm families.
The current recession has wreaked havoc across our state and our nation. Farm families are not insulated from these financial strains. In our pork and dairy industries, for example, the prices received have fallen well below the cost of production for a prolonged and unsustainable length of time resulting in several generational farms going out of business. Our timber, beef and other livestock industries are also hurting from ever rising input costs and low prices. The unusual moisture and weather this year has put grain farmers behind with increased drying costs and crop loss while fighting volatile market prices. To make matters worse nearly every farm operation continues to suffer the effects of a severe lack of credit availability for operational financing or debt restructuring because of the banking crisis.
Missouri farm families have always done their part to invest in and support their local communities and the state and local tax base. The vitality of every community in our state depends upon the economic health of the Missouri farmer. At this time, any increase in land assessments would not only be detrimental to farm families, but also to Missouri's overall economy.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment and for your public service. If I can ever be of service to you in any way, please contact me.
Dr. Jon Hagler
Director of Agriculture