|
|
The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • That's What I Think: About the right to farm

  • A few days ago I wrote on Facebook that I was going to vote against Amendment 1, the so-called right-to-farm amendment, because I am a conservative. As such, I oppose most legislation because I figure it will wind up doing more harm than good and will cost us a lot of money.
    • email print
      Comment
  • A few days ago I wrote on Facebook that I was going to vote against Amendment 1, the so-called right-to-farm amendment, because I am a conservative. As such, I oppose most legislation because I figure it will wind up doing more harm than good and will cost us a lot of money.
    I explained to my Facebook friends that I could see that happening with this amendment for it would set in stone the right to farm, making regulation of farms difficult.
    That would open up the way for more industrial agriculture and more intense operations that would foul the groundwater for the neighbors, stink up the surrounding properties and the properties on down the road and would open up more land for foreign ownership.
    These are some of the potentialities that I had read about, and apparently they are talked about a lot in television ads, too, though I wouldn’t know for I have neither cable nor satellite TV.
    Members of the crowd packed into the meeting room at Penelope’s for a meeting hosted Thursday night by Missouri Farmers Care said they had seen and heard the anti-amendment ads.
    Speakers at the event included Dan Hutton, of Missouri Farmers Care, and Sen. Dan Brown, a Rolla veterinarian who represents the 16th District.
    They spoke about the concerns I have read about and subsequently wrote about on Facebook.
    After the meeting opened with prayer and a reading of the proposed amendment, Hutton said the reason the amendment is needed is because “we’ve seen agriculture come under attack.” Missouri is an agricultural state and harming farming and ranching will hurt the whole economy.
    Hutton spoke about Proposition B, the so-called puppy mill bill that was backed by the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), an ardent animal rights organization, that has expressed goals of targeting animal agriculture.
    “It empowers you, the farmer, to fight back,” said Hutton about the proposed right-to-farm amendment.
    He cautioned that “it doesn’t do anything with existing regulations, but any new law or regulation will have to undergo a higher level of scrutiny.”
    He also said some fears expressed are that this will uplift corporate farming while downgrading family farms and will open the door to more foreign ownership. He said corporate farming and foreign ownership of farms are capped by state law.
    Brown said the amendment is needed to fend off regulations such as the anti-dust rule attempted by the EPA.
    Brown said fears that Monsanto is behind the amendment are unfounded.
    “Monsanto has nothing to do with this. Monsanto is exempt,” he said. The amendment is strictly about farming, he said. “It does not even apply to processors.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The biggest proponent of the amendment is the Missouri Farm Bureau, he said, and that organization is not going to work against farmers.
    Brown said the amendment has been worked on for nearly five years, and it began with former state Rep. Tom Loehner. It came out of a concern that animal rights organizations were stepping up attacks on farmers and ranchers.
    HSUS has given much money to organizations fighting the amendment. They are advertising heavily in the cities, where voter turnout could be higher.
    Brown said the turnout in rural Missouri will be the key to determining whether the amendment fails or passes.
    Members of the audience spoke about their support for the amendment and their intent to call others.
    One audience member said that in a northern state where the right-to-farm amendment had been passed, the animal rights organizations “packed up and moved out” of the state. Hutton said that there have been no additional lawsuits to do away with regulations and legislations once the amendment passed.
    So after it was all over, I had to think again about what I will do on Aug. 5.
    I am still of the opinion there will be unintended consequences. I have a hard time believing there won’t be any lawsuits.
    Nevertheless, I have changed my mind, and I will vote for the right-to-farm amendment Tuesday. It looked to me like all the people I know who are involved in agriculture are in favor of it. They know far more about agriculture than I do, and if they aren’t concerned about the ramifications of it, it’s a little foolish for me to be, I think.
    So, I will vote for it, and I encourage you to do the same.

        calendar