Right to Farm amendment goes to voters

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Amendment 1 aims to protect family farms from animal rights groups

On the Aug. 5 primary election ballot will be Amendment 1, the Missouri Right to Farm, which aims to ensure the right of citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed upon.

Many elected officials and organizations support the amendment. Missouri Farmers Care officials say that the amendment will protect family farms from animal rights groups.

State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, and State Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, are both in support of the amendment.

"Senator Sater is a strong supporter of agriculture in the State Capitol," said Mike Deering, Missouri Cattlemen's Association executive vice president. "He was a leader in the passage of the 'Right to Farm' legislation."

State Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, has some concerns over the safety risks if the amendment is passed. Last year, he said the amendment could lead to a situation in which it is more difficult for regulators to control super-food poisoning bugs, which are created as a result of feeding antibiotics to livestock.

"The agricultural industry is somewhat blind to this problem and they're looking at it from a financial point of view more than a public health point of view," said Schaaf.

The amendment will allow city governments to continue being able to regulate the farming practices, however.

Missouri Farmers Care Attorney Brent Haden, of Columbia, said that fewer people are directly connected to farms than in the past.

"This has made agriculture vulnerable to attacks from well-funded outside groups that push misinformation on the public to pass burdensome and expensive regulations," he said.

The amendment, if passed, will prohibit the state from enacting any law that would limit the rights of Missouri farmers to use agricultural technology and modern livestock production as well as ranching practices.

Registered voters in Missouri can vote to approve or deny the amendment during the primary election Aug. 5.

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