After enjoying a great Labor day weekend, we started out at Seneca High School the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 3 as a guest speaker in Mrs. Roller's FFA class.

After enjoying a great Labor day weekend, we started out at Seneca High School the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 3 as a guest speaker in Mrs. Roller's FFA class.

I was there from 8:30 a.m. until about 1 p.m. speaking about the importance of agriculture for the state of Missouri. I was able to meet some amazing young people and I hope I was able to give them some insight on agriculture issues.

One popular subject today is genetic engineering. A few modern developments have really brought this subject into the spotlights, but genetic engineering has been with us for a very long time. Many of the changes have been with us so long that most people don't even realize that they aren't natural occurrences. Do you really think that grapes are seedless naturally? Do you realize that watermelons used to have as many seeds in the center as cantaloupes? Would you believe that an ear of corn used to be about four inches long? Many, many of our fruits and vegetables have been genetically altered to bring us a better and more palatable product. Cattle are constantly being crossbred and altered to bring us a better and cheaper source of beef. Hogs have been selectively bred to produce a longer side of bacon. As our population numbers grow, agriculture is expected to keep up with the ever increasing needs. I can assure you that those kids in Mrs. Roller's class are going to be ready to meet the challenges!

Wednesday, Bill Reiboldt and I met with the assistant director of the Missouri Conservation Department. The Department has made it a priority to meet with representatives and share ideas and give us updates on what the department is doing. Our main topic last week was Chronic Wasting Disease in the deer population. We haven't seen an outbreak in Southwest Missouri yet, but we sure want to stay ahead of the potential problem. Some areas of the state have been afflicted with this problem and their population of deer has been reduced drastically. Hunters and interested members of the public will get a chance to attend some informational seminars and will be able to participate in the effort to identify the disease early on.

By the time you read this, we will be in Veto Session. I can't remember such a fuss being made over a veto session, especially over issues that have been blown so far out of proportion. HB 253 was a joint effort between the Governor and the General Assembly. If you remember, the Governor campaigned on a tax overhaul. Up until the election was over and the Governor began to set his sights on the next political challenge, he was all for HB 253. Most of the language in the final bill was supplied by his office.

But, alas, when we need to be perceived as making a significant move to the left, we can't be allowing tax breaks, or second amendment bills to go unchallenged. In fact, the Governor saw fit to veto 29 bills. Not a record, but not far from it. The downside to that is, with the overrides the last two years plus whatever we do this week, he will have the record for the most vetoes overridden. Let's hope that doesn't hurt his attempt to be a vice president or whatever.

I don't blame anyone for having ambitions for higher office, but for Pete's sake, do the job you were elected to do first! I'm looking forward to the weeks' activities as a chance to get a rest from working on the cabin!
Next week I'll fill you in on all the gory details of the "Dreaded Veto Session" Until then, I am and remain in your service.

Bill Lant serves the people of Newton and McDonald counties in the Missouri House of Representatives.