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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Rep. Jason Smith's Capitol Report for Feb. 28

  • Missouri House Passes Constitutional Right to Farm (HJRs 11 & 7)
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  • This week my colleagues joined me to protect the rights of farm families who call Missouri home. Our state needs a “Right to Farm” constitutional amendment to guarantee future generations of farmers the ability to farm the way taught to them by their parents and grandparents.
    The amendment will protect Missouri’s $11 billion a year agriculture industry, the lifeblood of our state’s economy, from attacks made by out-of-state special interest groups that want nothing less than the end of our agricultural way of life. Specifically, it creates a constitutional right for farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices.
    It also prevents any state law from abridging the right of farmers and ranchers to employ modern agricultural technology, livestock production, and ranching practices without the approval of the General Assembly. Our amendment would give farm families the peace of mind that their way of life will not be destroyed by subversive animal rights groups.
    HJRs 11 & 7 are also relevant to Missourians who have no direct connection to farming. We should not overlook the fact that farmers provide the food we feed to our families and the many value-added products we use in our daily lives. The next time you sit down for dinner with your family to enjoy a juicy steak or a succulent ham, imagine what things would be like if the radical animal rights groups had their way – they want to take the food off your table and out of the mouths of your family, effectively ending the farming traditions that have been used for generations to feed and clothe millions of Americans.
    That is why it is important that we follow the lead of North Dakota, which saw an overwhelming number of voters approve a “Right to Farm” constitutional amendment last year. Like Missouri, North Dakota saw an invasion of out-of-state interest groups that wanted to attack the state’s most valuable industry.
    In November of 2012, North Dakota voters stood in defense of farmers and ranchers when they rejected an attempt to rewrite North Dakota’s animal welfare laws. It was an attack initiated by several out-of-state interest groups who have launched similar efforts in Missouri and around the country. North Dakota voters also stood in defense of farmers by approving a constitutional protection of the “Right to Farm” with more than 67 percent of voters in support.
    This year, I’m proud to help lead the effort here in Missouri. Other states like Indiana and Oklahoma have similar proposals on the table because they too understand the importance of protecting such a vital industry and such an important way of life.
    We cannot allow out-of-state, radical interest groups to drive the agenda here in Missouri, and we cannot allow them to create laws that would ultimately drive our farm families out of business. The Missouri House has taken the first step to ensure our farming traditions are protected. I am hopeful we will see the Senate move quickly to approve this amendment so that voters will have the chance to approve it next year. I’m confident Missourians will come together to protect an industry that provides so much for people in every part of the state and all across the country.

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