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New Missouri Ag Director deals with budget cuts

Chris Chinn now officially heads the Missouri Department of Agriculture, but with a smaller proposed budget.  Chinn, confirmed Thursday by the Missouri Senate to be the new Missouri Director of Agriculture, faces a proposed funding cut from $53 million to about $40 million.  Chinn tells Brownfield much of what was cut had not been funded in recent years anyway, but she says she’s ready for the department to do its part to achieve a balanced state budget.

“We’re going to live within our means,” Chinn told Brownfield Ag News Friday at the department’s headquarters in Jefferson City.  “We’re going to examine all of our programs and services that we have here and make sure that they are a benefit to our farmers and ranchers and consumers, and if they’re not working, we’re going to find a different avenue to take that will help us provide a better service to our farmers, ranchers and consumers.”

The Missouri State Fair also faces a $500,000 cut in state funding. Director Chinn says that was money set aside for a new pavilion on the fairgrounds, which she says will be put off to a later date.

“We’re going to keep working at that, we’re going to look for where we can raise that money or find that money,” said Chinn, referring to the money needed to make improvements at the fairgrounds in Sedalia, “but we’re not going to give up our goals, we’re going to keep moving forward; we just may have to take a different road to get there.”

Despite the cuts, Director Chinn, a pork producer from Clarence, Missouri, says Governor Greitens will do what’s necessary to keep agriculture the number one economic driver in Missouri.

“He’s done an excellent job of making sure that he provides me with the support that I’m going to need to make sure that we can carry out our promise to rural Missouri that we’re going to make life better,” she said.  “We’re going to help them bring that next generation back home to the family farm.”

AUDIO: Chris Chinn (7 min. MP3)

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