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Cattle Farmers Have Beef With Potential Tax Increase

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Missouri cattle farmers say a way to increase their taxes is quietly winding its way through the legislature.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Missouri cattle farmers say a way to increase their taxes is quietly winding its way through the legislature.  So they are raising the alarm to unaware cattle producers.

The Missouri Rural Crisis center says these farmers are already paying millions.

The farmer we spoke with and others who are concerned say this money is supposed to go to things like reasearch and promotion for cattle farmers.

But, they don't believe farmers are seeing the dividends and they feel this issue is being pushed through the legislature.

Cattle Farmer Sean McCarthy has been making his living off the land for all of his adult life.

A few hundred miles from this serene field Missouri Lawmakers are debating bills that farmers fear would pave the way to increase a tax McCarthy pays on every head he sells.

"Every calf or cow, every head of livestock that we sell we have to pay a dollar per head check off," said Cattle Farmer Sean McCarthy. "This proposal would increase it by 50 cents."

McCarthy says individually it doesn't seem like much.

"For the individual producer it's not a lot of money but it adds up to over a million dollars state wide. There's over 59 thousand cattle producers in the state of Missouri," said McCarthy.
 
McCarthy is concerned that much of this is happening without the knowledge of the people it impacts most.

"I'd just like to say that anybody that's raising cattle in the state of Missouri needs to become aware of this and contact their state rep and personally I would like to see the tabled until the next session," he says.

Tim Gibbons of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center says Missouri farmers already pay $2 million each year into this program.

"It's a program that people pay into every time they sell a good. It is collected by the Missouri Department of Agriculture and goes to the beef board here in Missouri," said Gibbons.

Gibbons says this tax would mean a million more.

"We see that that's a million dollars a year that could be and would be better spent in farmer's towns and on their farming operations," said Gibbons.

The cattle farmers would like more time to spread the word so there can be a referendum among producers before this tax is increased. The legislative session is quickly coming to an end on May 16.

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