I stand to benefit from Missouri’s constitutional amendment 1. I know that. What you might not know is that you will benefit too.
I just finished reading dozens of articles saying that we don’t need excess legislation, farmers are fine, agriculture shouldn’t be afforded special rights, and by the way, if you farm with your brother or father and have an LLC you’re probably a bad guy anyway.
My favorite so far was a comment on Facebook by a lady telling me I should take some time and learn how food in our state is produced.
But in all seriousness, why has agriculture suddenly lit up your Facebook feed?
The ballot amendment itself is short and sweet. It reads: 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?
So what are people worked up about?
Well, some say its about Chinese ownership of farms in Missouri. I think many of us would prefer Missouri businesses to stay in the hands of Missourians, but unfortunately this is an entirely separate ballot issue. But the Chinese are already here and in this regard, Right to Farm will change nothing that isn’t already happening. Make no mistake. This really isn’t about China.
Others are really concerned about “big ag.” Huge corporations who care nothing about the environment could run amuck with this free license to earn a profit however they like. So consider this. Ever since the Civil War federal law has superseded state law. Farmers, organic and conventional, small and large, moral and unethical, still abide by The Clean Air and Water Acts. Plus the actual constitutional language states that farmers and ranchers are “subject to duly authorized powers.” It’s not about the environment.
On the other hand many are worried about the “little guy.” They say this will do nothing to protect the small farmer. On the contrary. The language was specifically chosen so that anyone earning more than $1000 annually is covered. That’s a pretty small “little guy.”
And then there is the issue of being vague. To clarify, here is the constitutional language.
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 the is sate, subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri.”
A few years ago a county in Missouri tried to stop farmers from running equipment after 10:00 PM because it was “noisy.” The case went through several layers of litigation before being resolved.
But what next? Can you predict what crazy will look like? I’m grateful for the protection and you should be too. Here’s why.
Remember how I said you would benefit from Amendment 1 too? Lots of people don’t get that. They see this as unnecssary. They wonder why farming deserves the same rights as speech or bearing arms.
I guess I believe eating is a fundamental right.
I don’t remember it but I’ve heard healthcare was a different world before doctors worried about being sued constantly. Before malpractice insurance hit the roof and prices sky rocketed. Before everything a doctor did was measured against what a lawyer could do with it.
That day and age is coming for agriculture. Actually it’s here.
What will a world full of red-tape and insurance premiums look like for you? Money. Scarcity. Sort of what health care looks like today.
Yes, I want my kids to come back to the family farm in 20 years if they like. I want my husband to do the work he is passionate for. I want to look out my window at the amber waves of grain and the fresh cut corn stalks. But mostly I want to feed those kids, my husband, even the world.
This isn’t about China, or big ag, or little guys. It’s about food security. And I’m voting Yes.