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Home-->Editorial-->Do we need a right to farm amendment in Missouri?
 
Do we need a right to farm amendment in Missouri? mariwinn
Updated: 2014-06-17 16:54:38
The voters of Missouri are asked to approve what to Section A. Article I, Constitution of Missouri? How many voters actually are familiar with the rest of Article I? (For more information about the change go here.)

Anyway, here's what is to be added:

"Section 35. That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri's economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri's economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state, subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri."

This language constituting a right to farm law attempts to deny lawsuits against farmers who allegedly use accepted and standard farming practices (whatever that means). Many states have right to farm laws, some with caveats like no farming operation may undergo a large increase in size or farmers aren't allowed to change substantially what they are currently doing. The addition to Missouri's Constitution seems to have typically vague language which would suggest that neighbors may no longer bring lawsuits regarding odor, noise, dust or use of pesticides or any other offending practice to a homeowner.

Republicans who created this joint resolution have historically favored the mega farms that dot Missouri's rural landscape. They argue that they are protecting jobs but overlook the farming practices of these companies that force out workers through automation. They have done everything they can do to strip the Department of Natural Resources of the power to protect the environment--this resolution taking away any possibility of regulating farming that would protect Missouri's natural resources.

To refresh your memory put "Moark" in the search box on the JOPLIN INDEPENDENT'S homepage. Proponents of this constitutional amendment want to strip outside groups like PETA from influencing the public to support regulations that would curtail any negative farming practices. People who have or had a hankering to "live in the country"--the counties with no zoning laws--won't be able to complain about runoff from pig farms, open bins storing hen house excrement, redirection of water supply, or any other "nuisance" to their healthy living. It also puts a stumbling block in front of groups concerned with animal welfare, antibiotics use in livestock and genetically modified food.

Gov. Jay Nixon decided to place this issue before the voters in the August 5 primary election, rather than November. Speculation has it that farming supporters would come out in droves, many among ranks of the Tea Party, and that Nixon would rather see this happen in August rather than November.

Amendment 1 reads: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed?” Our vote is "no." What is yours?

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