- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday signed into law several proposed changes to the state’s agriculture policies, including expanding a locally grown food program and beefing up tax credits for meat producers.

Nixon went to the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia to tout his action on the legislation, which will grow the Farm-to-School program to also connect farmers with prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, military bases and other institutions. It’s now called the Farm-to-Table program.

Other provisions in the law, which takes effect Aug. 28, will extend a beef producer tax credit of 10 cents per pound until 2021. It was set to expire this year.

The legislation increases the tax credit to 25 cents per pound for sale weights more than 600 pounds. It also calls for a tax credit for new, modernized or expanded meat processing facilities worth 25 percent of the costs, capped at $75,000. That credit goes into effect next tax year.

Nixon said the goal is to increase processing in the state, rather than shipping meat elsewhere. According to his office, Missouri ranks third in the number of beef cows.

Legislative researchers estimated it would cost as much as $8 million a year in general revenue starting in fiscal year 2018.

Another bill Nixon signed Friday will mean family farmers no longer need to file annual corporate registration reports with the secretary of state if there are no reported changes. Secretary of State Jason Kander’s office said only about 10 percent of the 765 farm corporations in Missouri report changes.

“Agriculture is Missouri’s number one industry,” Nixon said in a statement. “That’s why we work hard to help family farms by cutting red tape and promoting the sale and success of Missouri grown products.”

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