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: Celebrating FFA


Like so many in southeast and south-central Missouri, agriculture has always been an important part of my life. I’ll never forget the memories I have as a young kid spending time at, and working on, my grandparents’ farm — the very same one I own, operate, and live on today. The experience and skills I gained were very valuable, but nothing made me better prepared to run my cattle ranch — or serve in Congress — than my local FFA chapter. That’s because FFA is about much more than growing crops and raising animals; It’s about growing leaders.

Every year during National FFA Week, which was celebrated February 17-24, thousands of FFA students — past and present — share stories about the program and reflect on how it has impacted their lives. And there’s no question that FFA forever changed mine. My role as president of the Salem FFA chapter helped me overcome my fear of public speaking. Through FFA, I developed core values like responsibility, accountability, hard work, and the importance of building up the community around you. There’s a reason that my Salem FFA jacket is proudly displayed on the wall of my office in Washington; It made such a profound impact on my life.

One of the highlights of my job is meeting with FFA students from southeast and south-central Missouri, whether it’s in D.C. or back home in the state. During my visit to Couch R-1 in December, I had the opportunity to meet the local FFA chapter, and I was so impressed by their extensive knowledge of, and passion for, Missouri agriculture. Regardless of whether they decide to pursue a career in agriculture, as FFA students, I know they have a very bright future ahead.

Ever since I was elected to public office, whether it was to the Missouri General Assembly or the U.S. House of Representatives, delivering for farm families and our rural communities has always been a top priority. I’ve worked to expand access to care to finally bring an end to the rural health crisis. I’ve fought to rein in big government and get rid of burdensome regulations to help small businesses and farmers compete and succeed. One of the highlights of my job every year is our annual Farm Tour, where we hear directly from Missourians involved in agriculture about what policies are making their lives difficult and what I can be doing to get government off their backs.

In my role as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over issues like tax, trade, and health care, I’m fighting tooth and nail to advance policies that rural communities care most about. The lobbyists and special interests in Washington aren’t used to having the Ways and Means Committee led by a rancher from a working-class family whose priority is advancing policies that help working families, small businesses, and farmers.

Just as I said to the students at Couch R-1, a person’s background doesn’t determine if they will be successful in life; With hard work and determination, there is no limit to what can be accomplished. As your voice in Washington, I will never stop fighting to create a brighter future for the next generation of farmers, small business owners, and leaders. Serving the hardworking folks of southeast and south-central Missouri is the honor of a lifetime, and something I will never take for granted.