At first glance, the proposed Missouri Right to Farm constitutional amendment appears to be a good thing. However, a closer inspection and a little bit of reading between the lines tells a different story.
The Missouri Right-to-Farm, Amendment 1 is on the August 5, 2014 primary election ballot in Missouri as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. If approved by voters, the measure would explicitly guarantee farmers and ranchers the right to engage in their livelihoods and produce food for others. The measure was sponsored by Rep. Bill Reiboldt (R-160) in the Missouri House of Representatives, where it was known as House Joint Resolution 11.
Here is the text:
If approved, the measure will add a section 35 to Article I of the Missouri Constitution. The new section would read as:
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.
Here is a definition of “right to farm” laws:
According to a 2005 report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), right-to-farm laws can be defined as follows:
Right to farm laws (sometimes called nuisance laws) deny nuisance suits against farmers who use accepted and standard farming practices, even if these practices harm or bother adjacent property owners or the general public. Agricultural nuisances may include noise, odors, visual clutter and dangerous structures.
“Accepted and standard farming practices.” Mull on that for a bit. Accepted and standard farming practices include concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), genetically engineered crops (GMOs), and anything that the government deems is acceptable. If the government has given its seal of approval, even if it contaminates the water, soil, your neighbor’s organic crop or home garden, even if it drives him out of business due to that contamination, makes his family sick, or kills his livestock, if it has been approved by the government, it is acceptable and covered under the “right to farm” law.
This proposal is not to protect small family farmers as advertised and promoted, but to protect biotech interests. Here is a partial list of supporters:
(Click Graphic to Enlarge)
Notice that Monsanto, Cargill, and those that make a living off of the use of GMOs dominate the list. This is not to protect you, me, or any other family farmer. This is to protect biotech chemical farming from people who would like to ban GMOs from their localities like Jackson County did in Oregon, which resulted in the governor of Oregon calling an emergency session to reserve the right to regulate agriculture to the state in order to stop the movement to ban GMOs from spreading to other counties in the state.
Here is the main argument for this law:
Proponents say farmers need protection from regulations promoted by outside “environmental extremists” and animal rights groups. They say Missouri growers and ranchers are knowledgeable about proper farming practices. They argue that the amendment would save jobs and protect small and family farmers who can’t afford to mount legal challenges or relocate their farms
Since when does a small family farmer have to worry about lawsuits resulting from overcrowding and abuse of animals in CAFOs? Since when does a small family farmer have to worry about lawsuits resulting from the wholesale use of pesticides and GMOs? He doesn’t.
It’s a biotech takeover disguised as a “right to farm” movement to protect small farmers. Don’t be fooled. Just look at the list of supporters. Do you see any small organic farmers there? No. You see Monsanto, Cargill, Corn Growers, Soybeans, Dairy, and all of the large GMO-dependent interests. This is not a right to farm proposal, it is a right to pollute and drive small farmers out of business proposal. And they want us to do it to ourselves. A vote for this is a vote for a complete biotech takeover.
©2014 Barbara H. Peterson