Republican Rural Caucus Praises Right to Farm BillThu, 23 Apr 2015 12:08:33 CDT
The Oklahoma House of Representatives Republican Rural Caucus is in full support of a constitutional amendment to protect the rights of agricultural producers in rural Oklahoma, the caucus chair said.
"In this day and age, there is a concerted war being waged on the rural way of life," said state Rep. Dustin Roberts, R-Durant. "Environmental and animal rights activists have made life more difficult for farmers and ranchers throughout the U.S. Now, the Oklahoma Legislature is putting forth a solid, constitutional protection for agricultural producers. I could not be more proud of the progress of HJR1012 through the legislative process."
House Joint Resolution 1012, by state Rep. Scott Biggs, would allow Oklahomans to vote to amend the state constitution to protect citizens' rights to engage in farming and agriculture in all cases unless prohibited because of a compelling state interest. The measure has been approved in both chambers and now simply waits for the Oklahoma House of Representatives to approve amendments.
"Agriculture is a central component of the Oklahoma economy and critical to local rural communities," said Biggs, R-Chickasha. "We simply are not going to let anyone come in and harm our agricultural producers. We have a right to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness and that includes farming."
Other members of the caucus voiced their support for the amendment.
"I think farmers and ranchers are fed up with the multitude of regulations they often face," said state Rep. Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher. "Unfortunately, there is often a push at the national level to increase those regulations, rather than decrease them. This amendment will help limit government intrusion into the lives of our agricultural producers."
"Small farming and ranching operations are the hardest hit by overregulation," said state Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang. "All farmers and ranchers are affected, but the smaller operations have fewer resources to mitigate the costs of regulations. I think this amendment is good for both our economy and our individual citizens."
"My constituents love this amendment," said state Rep. John Pfeiffer, R-Mulhall. "I have a largely rural district and I think voters are going to overwhelming support better protections for farmers and ranchers. As our population gets more removed from the source of its food measures like this become of paramount importance. I am not trying to score any points in my district by picking on anybody. I am just trying to do what I think is best for my district, and give my constituents the protection they need to make a living and feed the world. "
"Ranching and farming are the lifeblood of our nation," said state Rep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston. "I think it's imperative that Oklahoma stands up and protects our farmers and ranchers for generations to come."
"Right to Farm protects the farmers and ranchers in my district from groups that have no idea about how to run a farm or ranch," said state Rep. Casey Murdock, R-Felt. "Agriculture is a generational business. We want to leave our farms and ranches to our children and grandchildren better than we had it."
"We can have many debates on the House floor about many different bills that pertains to Oklahoma's economy, but if we can't farm and grow our food, there will not be an economy because we won't be here," said state Rep. Steve Vaughan, R-Ponca City.
"We are protecting our agricultural producers because they are the backbone of our economy," said state Rep. John Enns, R-Enid. "It is easy for the majority of Americans to forget who provides them with the essentials. This constitutional amendment puts up a barrier against any poorly thought out regulation on farmers and ranchers."
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