Smith Cows

Congressman Smith, left, talks with Joe Kaczmarek during a visit to Kaczmarek Herefords.

Congressman Jason Smith (R-MO) recently visited Kaczmarek Herefords in Dent County, beginning his 30-county swing of agricultural facilities this summer.

Kaczmarek Herefords has been in Salem since 1971, when Bill and Roberta Kaczmarek purchased their farm. It remains a family operation to this day. On their farm they raise Hereford bulls that are sold commercially to other farms across Missouri, as well as to many parts of the western United States. Their son Joe, who gave Smith a tour of their operation, spoke about the issues they have facing larger corporate farms and more recently, the beef packing industry.

Smith relayed how he’s been a leading voice on the issue of fairness for cattlemen in cattle markets and is working with the Trump Administration and in Congress to address these concerns.

“Our economy in southern Missouri relies on a healthy and robust agriculture industry, which is why it’s so important to ensure our farmers, ranchers, and small businesses are getting a fair price for their products” said Smith. “Given all of the concerning practices from large beef packers in the area, I’ve expressed to the Trump Administration that they should fully investigate the actions of these companies.

“I’m also working on legislation that will help to level the playing field,” Smith added. “My bill will incentivize cattle co-ops by allowing producers to work together and establish their own packing facilities so they can complete for a better price in the marketplace. Family-owned farms are the bedrock of our rural communities, and I intend to keep it that way.”

The stop in Dent coincided with the beginning of the congressman’s annual summer stops throughout the area meeting with as many different farms, families and agricultural-related businesses he can. Southern Missouri is home to a vibrant and diverse agricultural community that faces unique challenges to continued growth and success.

These meetings, visits and townhall style forums with a multitude of farmers and stakeholders provide an opportunity for substantial conversations to foster ideas, hear concerns and generate feedback the congressman shares with his colleagues and the White House to help rural America continue to succeed.

“As a fourth generation family farm owner myself, I take special pride in representing and fighting for our farming families,” said Smith. “I am so grateful for all of our hard-working farmers that welcome me on to their property and take the time to share with me their operations and ideas for further relief. I look forward to sharing what I have seen and heard with my colleagues and the White House to make a real difference for Missouri farmers and their families.”