Amendment 1 Will Protect State Farmers, Says Missouri Farm Bureau President

AMENDMENT 1 WILL PROTECT STATE FARMERS, SAYS MISSOURI FARM BUREAU PRESIDENT

Blake HurstIn an interview with Columbia, Missouri radio station 93.9 The Eagle, Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst makes it clear that Missouri’s Farming Rights Amendment, Amendment 1, is a vital protection for all Missouri farmers, especially local family farms.

He goes on to say that state constitutions are actually much longer and in-depth than the federal constitution, providing for more specific language about particular state industries.

A concern among many citizens is whether placing language in the state constitution would give unprecedented power to Missouri’s agriculture industry. Hurst puts those fears to rest, stating that, “There’s no government agency, like the EPA, to regulate farming. Sounds good for the agriculture industry, except it makes it vulnerable to initiative petitions, like the 2010 ballot measure that put restrictions on so-called “puppy mills.”

“Let’s give farming just a bit of extra protection. It’s extraordinarily important to the state of Missouri. It’s our leading industry…let’s think about what we do a little bit more before we do it.”

He also dispels the notion that the language of the proposed amendment is murky and could lead to legal challenges. He states that the language is actually very clear, arguing that amendment includes language that reinforces the powers of local ordinances that already exist.

The proposed amendment includes this section:

“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.”

The last sentence says that all farming and ranching practices will be subject to “duly authorized powers”. This refers to the local ordinances that are in place.

Hurst stresses that the legality of ballot proposals are challenged in court many times, regardless of the language. This amendment won’t necessarily improve that process, but it won’t negatively affect it either.

Many voters are concerned that this proposal will only serve to benefit large corporate farming operations. This is a rumor that’s been heavily spread by members of the opposition, mainly to provide an emotional case that causes a sense of urgency among citizens. But it isn’t grounded in reality.

Amendment 1 would serve to benefit ALL farmers, but especially smaller operations, run by families that need to have their rights protected, especially in instances where they can’t afford the costs of drastically altering their practices or the legal fees resulting from court battles. These people feel that their way of life is under attack by the constant threats brought about by the ballot initiative process that animal rights organizations have exploited in recent years.

Blake Hurst, a Missouri farmer himself and a man who knows what farmers require in order to provide a food supply for a constantly evolving population, wants Missouri to thrive economically. One way to accomplish that is ensuring that its number one industry remains strong, operates within the confines of local and state regulations, and has the proper amount of protection it deserves.

For more information about Amendment 1, please visit Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Farmers Care.   

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