Editorial - Right to Farm Amendment Critical to Future of AgricultureTue, 08 Jul 2014 16:28:20 CDT
The following is an except of an editorial was written by attorney Brent Haden with Haden & Byrne Law Firm in Columbia, Mo.
Opponents are trying to convince Missourians Amendment 1 is bad for family farms. This is false. Amendment 1, also known as the Missouri Farming Rights Amendment, will help family farmers the most by providing a level of protection against overly restrictive laws and regulations being pushed by out-of-state animal activist groups. Read on to find answers to other questions.
The Right to Farm amendment, if passed, will make farming and ranching a right in Missouri, similar in scope and protection to the speech, religion and gun rights already in Missouri's Constitution.
The Right to Farm amendment is critical to ensure the long term future of agriculture in Missouri. It will create the regulatory certainty necessary for agriculture to grow and thrive in Missouri, and help guarantee that families in future generations can continue to farm and ranch across our state. Since the passage of the Right to Farm amendment, I've received several questions about the amendment. Here are some of the most common questions and answers:
Why is this amendment necessary?
Missouri's entire economic history is tied to agriculture, and agriculture remains the state's most important business sector. However, as agriculture has changed fewer people are directly connected to farms and ranches by occupation or through family. This has made agriculture vulnerable to attacks from well funded outside groups that push misinformation on the public to pass burdensome and expensive regulations. These regulations and prohibitions make farming and ranching less profitable, make our food supply less safe and less secure, and cause increased food prices. We've seen some types of farming and ranching heavily regulated and even outlawed in other states when big spending national groups seeking to damage conventional agriculture have shown up to push an anti-agriculture agenda. These same groups are now targeting Missouri and we are concerned that they will attempt to use the same tactics here. The Right to Farm amendment is intended to protect Missouri farmers and ranchers from these misguided and damaging laws by making farming and ranching a constitutional right in Missouri law.
What is required for the Right to Farm amendment to become part of the Missouri Constitution?
The Right to Farm amendment must receive a majority of votes cast at the August 5, 2014, statewide election. It is critical all supporters of the Right to Farm amendment turn out and vote for the amendment on August 5, 2014.
Will this amendment interfere with a county or city government's ability to regulate agricultural activity?
No. The language of the Right to Farm amendment specifically leaves the powers of local governments in place under Article 6 of the Missouri Constitution. If the Right the Farm amendment passes local governments will have all the same powers.
What activities are protected by the Right to Farm amendment?
The Right to Farm amendment is very broad in its protections. Nevertheless, like our other constitutional protections, its meaning will be more specifically defined by court rulings and state law. The amendment's language guarantees "the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices," and protects any activity undertaken by farmers and ranchers to raise crops or animals. However, those who violate laws or regulations would still be subject to enforcement action. Bad actors would not be protected.
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