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!