This upcoming year is going to be an exciting time for agriculturist. The Missouri state House and Senate passed the measure during the 2013 legislative session; the Missouri amendment reads:
“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.”
Right to Farm laws have been proposed in many states legislatures but only have officially passed in one state, North Dakota. Since Missouri will be voting on the amendment on the 2014 November statewide ballot it’s possible that Missouri would become the second state in the nation to approve a right to farm constitutional amendment. The right to farm amendment would affirm the rights of farmers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices and ensure that the legislature has the only ability to make laws that regulate farming practices in Missouri.
Although the language in this amendment is broad in its protections it ensures protection of any activity undertaken by farmers and ranchers to raise crops or animals. Our constitution was set up though for court rulings and state laws to define more specifically upon special cases. Missouri voters will get the chance to consider this amendment on the November 2014 statewide ballot; the amendment will be written on the ballot as follows:
“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed?”
I think the biggest problem this campaign will have will be the large urban population in Missouri. Even though agriculture is still that state’s most important business sector; there just isn’t as many people connected to agriculture as there were decades ago, so its our job to inform them. It is important that this measure passes to ensure security for Missouri farmers and ranchers. This amendment will protect our state from misguided and damaging laws that could make farming less profitable, limit consumer food choices, and inflate consumer’s grocery expenditures. The Right to Farm amendment has to receive a majority of votes in the statewide election on November 4, 2014. As far as what you can do to help along with this measure is by simply telling your story. It’s important for farmers and ranchers to speak up about their livelihoods and share those stories with the urban population to show them it’s important to you likewise it should be important to them for food security. I am really looking forward to hearing more about what happens in the upcoming months on Right to Farm in Missouri and around the nation!
At Missouri State University each fall semester the William H. Darr School of Agriculture honors students with awards and scholarships at an annual banquet. This year was very exciting because my parents made the trip from St. Louis all the way to Springfield to support me at the banquet. I knew I was receiving a scholarship but I was unaware of a very special award I receive that night. I was honored with the Anson Elliott Citizen Leadership Award in Agriculture for Ethical Leadership in Public Affairs and Internship Achievements. I later found out that I was nominated by a teacher and had to be approved by the entire faculty; this honestly blew me away.
The reason I deemed this important enough to blog about isn’t because I want to flaunt my achievements or seek admiration from others but this struck something in my heart. As a nontraditional agriculture student I never imagined myself excelling in these courses or better yet receiving and award in agriculture. I struggled after switching my major because of the amount of information I had to quickly learn just to comprehend material in class. This was very frustrating for me because in all honesty I wasn’t use to being the least informed in a class; I also felt dumb asking questions because I figured they were common sense to the other students, when they most likely were. So I made it my mission to read and reread every book, article, and notes taken in each class because I wanted to know it. I feel so thankful for falling into agriculture because of where I am today, I absolutely love learning about agriculture and it truly feels like where I am supposed to be. This award meant so much to me because agriculture is something I have become very passionate about and I am just so proud to be a part of it. At the end of the day I know that it’s nothing I could have done to receive that award but it was all because of God giving me the passion to pursue a degree in agriculture. Through the doors he has opened for me I have been able to succeed and I will continue to seek to follow that plan for my life. I am really looking forward for graduation obviously because who isn’t ready to graduate but ultimately I am excited to start my career. I honestly have no idea where I will end up but I am open to all possibilities and I am most importantly excited to learn more about agriculture.
Just recently I was talking with a girl
from California, we had an interesting conversation. I overheard her talking to
someone about how fresh and healthy the food is in California. She went on and
on about how much better the food is there compared to the Midwest. A part of
me wanted to say something then, but I continued to just listen to her
statements. I couldn’t hold back any longer when I heard her say how all the
food is so much healthier there because they have grass-fed meat and organic
vegetables. I wasn’t exactly surprised at her statements because I genuinely
believe that most Americans think organic and grass-fed animals are healthier
options; but this is just not entirely true! Up until this fall I myself didn’t
know much about the difference between organic and conventional operations; and
now I am really going to look into this debate. I believe organic is simply a
niche market, but I don’t think there is a elevated nutritional value with
organic foods over conventional foods. I understand that in some cases
grass-fed meats are healthier for you because they are typically leaner cuts of
meat since they aren’t finished off with grain. although there are definite
downsides with that. I believe 3 of the most important factors in this debate
are always: price, taste, and nutrition. possibly in that order as well. well
it is known that most consumers make decisions based off of price, and they
usually end up picking the cheaper option and the tastier over nutrition. When
understanding the markets of organic and grass-fed its important to realize
that they are niche markets and people are willing to pay a premium price for
the products. there are differences, but it all has to do with personal
preference. my worry was that overhearing this girl promote that these products
are healthier was problematic; because she was stating opinion as facts. I
explained to her that all cattle are started out on pasture but the difference
is how they are finished. She had no idea, she thought cattle were just fed
corn their entire lives in a stall I am glad I could clarify that it isn’t true
for any cattle productions. I will continue to eat what I believe to be tastier
and that is corn-fed beef, although I understand if that isn’t your preference
because we are all unique in our choices.