Not Just A Puddle

Not Every Drop Of H2O Can Be Called ‘Navigable Waters’

BETTY VALLE GEGG-NAEGER
MidAmerica Farmer Grower

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO.
   Heuer Equipment Co. here recently hosted a gathering of prominent agricultural representatives and area farmers to meet with the Roy Blunt reelection entourage for a look at stabilizing the direction of this country. Charles Kruze, former Missouri Director of Agriculture and former president of Missouri Farm Bureau, now serving as chairman for Senator Blunt’s ag team, opened the event with much gratitude for the Heuer Equipment family and patrons.
   The Blunt entourage was on a two-day ag tour of the state with the endorsement of all the commodity organizations in the state, including Missouri Soybean Association, Missouri Corn Growers, Missouri Pork Producers, Missouri Cattlemen, Missouri Dairy Association and Missouri Farm Bureau, the endorsements coming on behalf of their membership.
   “That’s pretty special,” Kruze said, adding it’s very clear why. “Roy has always stepped up and been there for us whatever the issue, he has been there for agriculture with a lot of common sense and a lot of heart. So now it’s our turn to be there for him when he’s running for reelection.
   “Missouri Farm Bureau typically does not endorse candidates until after the primary elections, and during my 18 years as state president I only remember one time when we endorsed someone ahead of the primary and that was Senator Kit Bond several years ago,” he added. “A couple of weeks ago, Missouri Farm Bureau endorsed Roy Blunt ahead of the primary, as they should have. All this and all these people coming together in support of Roy really underscores what a great job he’s done for all of us and what a great level of common sense he has taken to Washington, D.C.”
   Senator Blunt came to the podium and echoed Kruze’s thanks to Heuer for hosting this event.
   “There aren’t many single, stand-alone places like this any more and the kind of job you are doing and your family does for farmers and farm families really is important,” he said, recognizing the presence of Cousin Carl who is also “a guy who understands agriculture.”
   Blunt expressed his pleasure that so many ag groups have endorsed him, particularly because his parents were dairy farmers and that plays a big part in who he is.
   “I’ve had a long time relationship with so many people who understand how challenging and what a great opportunity Missouri agriculture has,” he added. “The opportunities we’ve had are just about to get a whole lot better.”
   He bashed the EPA regulators who are trying to control every drop of water and anything that relates to it, a level of authority if they got, he asserted, they could never properly handle.
   “There’s no way that the EPA could manage the authority they say they’d like to have; all that means is that the authority they would like to have would needlessly slow down the economy,” Blunt stated. “You can just look at the horizon and see what’s about to happen.
   “World food demand is going to double in 35 or 40 years. The biggest area of commerce in the world will be twice as big 35 or 40 years from now than it is today. This is not like speculating on what’s going to happen at the buggy whip factories; this is demographics, world food demand, world food need.
   “Once people get the better food they don’t want the not so good food any more. Once they get the food choices they don’t want to go back to having no food choices. The population alone is going to drive a lot of that demand.
   “I see, as you do, a lot of them come right here into your store; a lot of FFA kids with those blue jackets,  I see them in Missouri, I see them when so many of them make that first-in-their-lifetime trip to Washington. I have a place outside the Capital building where I like to talk to them; I tell them about the building, how it was built and how it came together and what happens there. But particularly, the last three years when I’m standing with these high school kids with these blue FFA jackets, it’s just impossible for me not to imagine what will happen if they decide  on a career in agriculture. Whether it’s production agriculture or food processing or commodity trading or food marketing or transportation, or building and running an inland port, whatever it is; the day you retire your whole life is going to be twice as big, the opportunities are going to be twice as big as the day you started. What else could you even imagine to enter into where that was a possibility?”
   Blunt recognized this area, the Mississippi River valley, as the exact middle of the biggest continuous piece of agricultural ground in the world, with the best farmers, ranchers in the world, best ag research institutes public and private in the world and the best located place to get things and send things all over the world.
   “If you just decide to sell your high quality grain without adding much to it, high quality product that’s produced here, basically it’s the world price plus whatever to get it there,” he added. “We can almost see the Mississippi River from right here, and that is about to become more important than it was 100 years ago!”
   Blunt related a conversation with Donna Lichtnegger and her colleagues in the state legislature about the value of the river.
   “When you get to the river and you can’t get on it, it’s just an obstacle; if you get to the river and you can get on it, it’s an opportunity,” he asserted, adding that last year the first five-year highway bill since 2009 was passed. “There are 37 short term extensions to the highway bill, and the highway bill matters to the country; but it matters more to us because it’s one of our advantages when we figure out how to make it one of our advantages.
   “Any number of people in this room who were farming 20 years ago may recall significant discussion about running out of natural gas. What will we do about fertilizer, how can we ship this into the country; then we find out we have more recoverable natural gas than anybody in the world! We have more coal than anybody in the world, we have more oil than almost anybody in the world, and we can take advantage of that! This is not a case where the government has to do a lot of smart things, the government just has to stop doing dumb things. It’s a natural opportunity we have here, we just have to seize the opportunity.”
   Making smart decisions isn’t just about growing things, it’s about making things and everything matters
   “Your utility bill matters, your delivery system matters, the workforce matters, we have all of those and they’re pretty good unless we decide we want to make them not so good,” Blunt said.  “Believe me, the economy that makes things and grows things is a lot stronger than an economy where people just trade services with each other. There’s nothing wrong with trading services, but if you do that on top of a truly productive economy you have the kind of jobs that create stronger families, stronger communities, This is all out there ready to wrap our arms around, with the biggest obstacle in most cases being our own government.
   “There’s a reason to fight regulations that don’t make sense, to fight taxes that don’t make sense, to fight the executive overreach and everything else, because we’re just a couple of steps away from wrapping our arms around some really good opportunities to create the kind of economy that will improve our lives.”
   Blunt finds it exciting to talk about agriculture, and he talks about it wherever he is. Agriculture, energy, health care will dramatically change in the next 10 years or so; everything from spark plug technology to individualized medicine developed through the study of the human genome.
   “It’s hard to find anything that is going to drive the economy more than those three things will, and food is right up there at the top,” he said. “We will benefit from this if we deal with it the right way. So we must talk about it, and do so in a positive way.
   “We also need to realize that 10 years from now we’re going to look at the river and say ‘oh my goodness, if we had only known 10 years ago what was about to happen we wouldn’t have let these markets escape us and go to Brazil, or Canada, or Australia.’ We are the logical beneficiary here of some good things that are about to happen. And they’re going to take some management and they’re going to be challenging, but it’s very seldom you get to look in the future and see things coming together that particularly benefit you and your family, your children and grandchildren.”
   There’s a lot at stake, and Blunt expressed his pleasure to work for the public.
   “I’m particularly glad to be able to fight for you on these issues. We were able to put a bill on the president’s desk on the waters of the United States that some said ‘you can’t do it,’ but we did. He vetoed it. Then we tried to override his veto and we almost did. But in both of those debates on the Senate floor I had the Farm Bureau map over my shoulder to show the part of our state that would be under the control of the EPA for anything that dealt with water.
   “If this bill had passed, regulation would just be allowed to go into control. Now, only the part that is going to be under the control of the EPA was colored in red on that map in our state; and you can check my speech and check this map any time you want to, but the area in question was 99.7 percent of the state of Missouri! You had to get really close to that map to find the three tenths of one percent that was a white dot that would be under control of somebody else besides the EPA.
   “That kind of foolish regulation is probably outside the law; I’m not a lawyer, but it sure seems to me definitely outside the law. We know what navigable waters means and it’s not all the water in the country!
   “So I look forward to your help. It’s great of you to be here on a great day like this. We need your help, I look forward to your help and I’ll be glad to fight for you,” Blunt summed.
   Also present in Blunt’s delegation was Representative Donna Lichtenegger and Roy and Abby Blunt’s son, Charlie. ∆
   BETTY VALLE GEGG-NAEGER: Senior Staff Writer, MidAmerica Farmer Grower






 John Heuer (left) with Senator Roy Blunt at a gathering of ag representatives and area farmers at Heuer Equipment Co. recently.                              
 Photo by John LaRose, Jr.










 (Right) Senator Roy Blunt and Charles Kruse.

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