A handful of agriculture-related bills passed by the Missouri General Assembly this year have been signed into law by Gov. Jay Nixon.
Senate Bill 665 renews the Qualified Beef Tax Credit through December 2021 and caps the incentive at $2 million per calendar year. The size of the tax break will become larger for cattle weighing 600 pounds or more; it's set to increase to 25 cents per pound. For cattle weighing less than 600 pounds the tax credit will remain at 10 cents a pound.
The new law also creates a new tax credit to encourage investments in meat processing facilities, which will also be capped at $2 million a year.
Another provision of SB 665 is the rebranding of Missouri's "Farm to School" program as the "Farm to Table" program. It will enable local-level farmers to expand access to their produce from schools only to institutions, including hospitals, jails and prisons, military bases, and nursing homes.
The Farm to Table program was one the very few priorities backed by House and Senate Democrats that made it through the Republican-controlled legislature to Nixon's desk. It was added onto the bill during the regular session and sponsored by Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar.
Nixon also signed another of Parson's bills on Friday. Senate Bill 664 removes the requirement that farm corporations and family farm corporations file a report with the Missouri Secretary of State's office every year. They'll now only have to file if there have been any changes to their registration during a given year.
Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat, advocated for the bill and praised its signing. He said in a written statement that it will "cut red tape for hundreds of Missouri's family farms" and give them "more time to grow their family business and less time filling out (government) paperwork."
Kander is seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican incumbent Roy Blunt. Parson, SB 664's sponsor, is seeking the Republican nomination for Missouri lieutenant governor.
Finally, Nixon signed Senate Bill 657, which is designed to protect the ethanol industry from some consumer lawsuits. It will shield blended fuel manufacturers, suppliers and retailers from being sued for property damage if a customer accidentally puts ethanol into a vehicle not built for blended fuels.
All three new laws take effect Aug. 28.
Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport