Right to Farm Proposed Constitutional Amendment

If you will look through my posts from the last Missouri session in 2013, you will find an awful lot of info on the “Right to Farm” proposed amendment. Click here to read the most comprehensive piece I did on it. It WILL be on the ballot here in MO  . The language was modified slightly, but we were not able to garner enough action to halt the thing from going through.

Here’s our “victory” on altering the language…instead of ensconcing “modern farming practices and technology” into the Missouri Constitution, it now reads like this:

Section 35. 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 [modern] farming [technology] 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.

It’s going to be a mess, folks. It will require court challenges and that “farmer” and “rancher” be defined by the State.

The fact is that we already have this right, and we don’t need them to define it, because if they define it, it will mess things up royally.

The intent of the language was- and remains to be- to protect GMO proliferation, biotech interests, and corporate vertically integrated factory farming. It is not intended to protect small diversified farming, and it won’t do so in the long run.

Ballotpedia has good info on this, you can click on this link and read it.

The proponents of the “Right to Farm” amendment say that the need for this change to our Constitution is the threat of animal rights activist groups and the constraints on animal agriculture they bring about. They also intimate that the only people opposed to the amendment are animal rights activists. Guess what? I am NOT an animal rights activist, and neither are a myriad of others who are opposed to this change in Missouri’s Constitution. So that is a patent falsehood.

We don’t need this amendment, and we certainly don’t need to change our Constitution because Farm Bureau wants to increase corporate ag’s stranglehold on small, diversified agricultural endeavors. What concerns me the most is that they will define “farmer” and “rancher” and “agriculture” as adjuncts to this legislation. When they do that, we will have GMO proliferation protected by Missouri’s Constitution and it may include biotech animal ag protections as well.

This amendment is dangerous and unnecessary. Please vote no on it, and let everyone else you know about the hidden dangers and the original intentions of those who pushed this amendment forward.

 

Now, This Would Be A Good Constitutional Amendment for Missouri

Recently, I wrote about Jason Smith’s HJR 7 and 11,which is a proposed Constitutional Amendment for the State of Missouri. By the way, Jason is the Pro Tem in the Missouri House and the Republican nominee to fill Joann Emerson’s seat in the US Congress. It is widely rumored that Smith was flown to Washington four times to be introduced to his future colleagues by Emerson. It is possibly coincidence one of Emerson’s daughters is a lobbyist for Monsanto and that Smith introduced this bill, which would strongly enhance Monsanto’s stranglehold on Agriculture in this State. Possibly. I just don’t know. It’s one of those thing that makes you go, “Hmmm…”, as that old adage goes.

What isn’t questionable is that HJR 7 and 11 and SJR 22 (it’s companion) are flying through the process at Jeff City quicker than a greased pig. And is NOT good for Missouri farmers, Missouri consumers, or economic freedom overall. Please read my first article on this legislation here to get some background on why I see this as terrifically dangerous and deceptive as I do.

An interesting thing about Missouri is the many options available for changing/amending the Missouri Constitution. Battles in ballot language are often fought in the back rooms of the State Offices and voters must go to extensive lengths to find out the full text of the actual proposal on the ballot. When people are voting on a Constitutional Amendment, they should not only be allowed easy access to the language, they should read it and be certain they understand the effects of the proposed amendment. We want the legislators to “read the bills”, why would we be satisfied with out own decisions on issues if we ourselves don’t read the actual text?

After two calls and a facebook message to Rep. Smith, I finally received a return call from Smith’s office, but I was outside dealing in the real world at the time.  I called back and left another message, but haven’t yet heard back from the staffer that left a message on my machine. Sigh.

Since this thing is moving so quickly, and the questionable terms “modern” and “agricultural technology” show no signs of being removed from the language, it seems that the public should have the opportunity to look at potential substitute language that would actually be beneficial for farmers, ranchers and consumers as well as the Missouri economy.

I spent quite a bit of time looking at the language and thinking it was completely hopeless. Then it clicked. A light came on and I found language that I have shared with a few traditional farming advocates and some other concerned groups and they all said they would definitely support this language.

For your consideration and comments, I submit a truly helpful and freedom enhancing substitute for Smith’s HJR 7 & 11: (the things in brackets and struck through are removed from the language of Smith’s bill-the bold italicized is inserted instead)

Section 35. 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 direct trade with consumers [modern farming and ranching practices] shall be forever guaranteed in this state. No law shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural [technology and modern livestock production and ranching] practices that secure independent family farm’s ability to save seed, preserve livestock bloodlines, or impede their access to market.

Section B. Pursuant to Chapter 116, RSMo, and other applicable constitutional provisions and laws of this state allowing the General Assembly to adopt ballot language for the 3 submission of a joint resolution to the voters of this state, the official ballot title of the amendment proposed in Section A shall be as follows: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure: 

• That the right of Missouri citizens to employ modern farming and ranching practices and equipment that insure the continuance of diversified small farms shall not be infringed”.

So what do you think? Is it too radical to think that people should have the ability to purchase their food from sources that they want? Do corporations and governments acting in the best interests of those corporations increase our freedom and improve our general health? In short, are people too stupid to decide what they want to eat?

 A  personal note for my friends and readers:

Put this in the whining column, my computer died on me. I amattempting to deal with my husband’s dinosaur that -for no apparent reason- decides to take you to links on pages of articles without clicking on them, starts to type in the middle of preceding paragraphs at will, and will only run one program at a time. I am waiting for a new hard drive, while praying that it isn’t the logic board on my computer that is fried. I have ten years of research in Mac format backed up, but when these Macs decide to quit on you, it is rather expensive to fix them and sometimes downright impossible to get funds together to do do it. Grrr. So if you ever wanted to donate anything to help me keep the alligators at bay, now would be a great time!