Democrat Chris Koster has tallied another significant endorsement from an agricultural group in his race for Missouri governor.
The Missouri Soybean Association announced Thursday it is throwing its support behind Koster’s bid over Republican Eric Greitens. The endorsement is a big win for Koster as it will likely help him with the traditionally conservative vote of rural Missouri.
“Chris has shown he understands agriculture and what it takes to grow the state’s number one industry,” Association President Matt McCrate said in a conference call Thursday. “He’s been a great partner for Missouri soybean growers and is committed to prioritize agriculture as our governor.”
Ronnie Russell, who serves on the association’s policy committee, highlighted Koster championing the renewable fuel standard as well as his battle against the EPA’s “overreach” when it came to control of farmland water under the Waters of the United States Rule in the Clean Water Act. Also, he said Koster’s support of the controversial “Right to Farm” amendment helped the association board make its pick.
Koster said he wants to make sure the state builds its international trade relationships with Mexico and Cuba among other countries in South America, Europe and the Pacific Rim.
“Those efforts have stalled out for a temporary time, but come January we want to see that effort spring forward again so these international trade offices are actually open and these relationships are established by the end of the fiscal year 2017,” Koster said.
Koster said he hasn’t taken a stance yet on the Trans Pacific Partnership, which is heavily supported by Missouri agriculture groups and farmers. But he says he’ll keep watching to see how it plays out.
“It’s not a state issue till it’s a state issue,” he said.
He also says he wants to make sure the state keeps Richard Fordyce as director of Agriculture, calling him “outstanding” and a unifier of agriculture.
Koster, currently serving as attorney general, has already received an endorsement from the Missouri Corn Growers Association and was the first statewide democratic candidate to be backed by the Missouri Farm Bureau since it began official endorsements 40 years ago, according to Koster’s campaign.
The bureau pointed to Koster’s track record of advocating for Missouri’s farmers as attorney general.
Koster will face off against Greitens in the November general election. Greitens, a former Navy Seal, has said he has little agriculture experience but would fight the EPA’s overregulation of farmland water.