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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Rep. Jason Smith Capitol Report for Feb. 14

  • Our Right to Farm has Never Been More Threatened
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  • It may surprise you to know one of the leaders of a so-called "animal rights" group is on record as saying his goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture. It's a fact many Missourians may not realize, but it's important that we all understand these out-of-state, out-of-touch groups want nothing less than the destruction of the agricultural traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation for centuries.

    As your state representative, and as someone who owns and manages the family farm started by my great grandfather, I am committed to protecting the way of life that has made Missouri the great state it is today. That's why I have sponsored legislation to give Missouri voters the opportunity to forever protect our right to farm in our state constitution. It's a change we need to make if we're going to prevent these overzealous activists from overregulating our farming traditions into oblivion.

    This is an issue that should be on the minds of all Missourians. Whether you are from a larger city, the growing suburbs or a small town in rural Missouri, your life has been impacted in a positive way by an agriculture industry whose traditions have been handed down from fathers to sons and mothers to daughters for generations. From the meals you put on the table for your family, to the countless products you use on a daily basis made from the byproducts of animals and crops, to the undeniable effect this $12 billion a year industry has on our economy, the agriculture industry that planted the seeds of our state's success in its earliest days continues to provide our state with a bountiful harvest of benefits in the modern era.

    Given the importance of agriculture to our state's past, present, and future, it is critical that we take action now to protect the time-honored traditions of family farming. We must stand together against groups that fuel their fight with emotion and misinformation under the guise of caring for the health and welfare of animals. All the while, they look for ways to make it harder for farmers to sustain their way of life. Everywhere they go, they push for unnecessary laws and regulations that seek to erode the soil upon which agriculture has grown and thrived in this country for centuries.

    The sad fact is that they have been successful in many of their efforts. Across the nation, they have directly sponsored dozens of ballot initiatives and referendums. Their initiatives have slowly stripped away not only the rights of farmers, but also the traditions near and dear to the hearts of hunters and fishermen. From Florida to Arizona to California, they have struck under the guise of working in defense of animals, and they have used their lies to fuel an emotion-based response from voters who would certainly not support their efforts if they knew the truth. In each state where they have successfully waged their fight we've seen the rights of farmers and animal owners undermined, and with each victory these radicals have become emboldened to continue their assault.
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    It seems unconscionable that such an attack could be successful in a nation that owes its greatness to these farming practices and traditions that are now under siege; a nation whose founding fathers were farmers and livestock owners, and who believed farms were the building blocks of this country. But the truth is that we live in a day and age when the traditions and values handed down to us by our forefathers have an enemy that wants nothing less than their extinction.

    That's why we must stand together as Missourians to defend the values and traditions that have made this state and this nation what it is today. We can do this by following the lead of states like Indiana and North Dakota that have had the wisdom and foresight to strengthen their constitutions with language that will protect and preserve the time-honored traditions that Missouri farm families have carried on for generations, and that will forever enshrine this vital way of life that must be continued if future generations are to have the kind of Missouri, and the kind of America, that our forefathers envisioned.

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