Audrain County farmers heard multiple legislative and policy updates Jan. 3 from national, state and local representatives. They didn't only hear from Rep. Kent Haden, but from staff of Audrain County representatives Sam Graves and Vicky Hartzler.

Audrain County Farm Bureau members first heard from Bryan Nichols, with Grave's office. Flooding has been of major concern to Graves and his district across north Missouri.

"It has been a constant battle with the Corps of Engineers. We continue to work with them, but to also encourage them along with recovery efforts," Nichols said.

Graves’ office also is asking the Corps to focus on flood control with people and property taking precedence over wildlife.

"There is legislation in Congress right now to do just that,” Nichols said. “You've got the water resources bill, which is coming up and will address a variety of issues related to our rivers. That's one of Congressman Graves' top priorities.”

Other bills focused on rivers and flooding from the past year include the Resilience Revolving Loan Fund act, giving states an opportunity to gain access to loan funds for disaster recovery. That bill relates to major and minor rivers, Nichols said. It has passed through the transportation committee of which Graves is the ranking member but has yet to reach Congress.

A bill that looks at how all forms of transportation are managed in the U.S. is up for reauthorization as well, Nichols added.

Members next heard from Hartzler's press secretary, Steve Walsh. He celebrated the passage of the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement, known as USMCA, in the House. The agreement still needs a floor vote in the Senate.

"It's going to create something like $60-some odd billion in economic activity here in the United States. It's going to create 176,000 new jobs in the U.S.," Walsh said.

Missouri's 282,000 manufacturing jobs also will benefit from USMCA as they will stay in the U.S., Walsh added. A provision in the agreement assure that manufacturing jobs in Mexico are paid at the same rate as U.S. workers, eliminating potential outsourcing of work.

"You can't have a company say, 'You know what? We're going to benefit by sending the jobs down to Mexico.' They [still] could do it, but they're not going to save any money if they do it," Walsh said.

cdunlap@gatehousemedia.com