MISSOURI SUPREME COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF RIGHT TO FARM AMENDMENT, CALLING IT FAIR AND EFFICIENT
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Missouri Right to Farm Amendment on Tuesday, June 30th, ending the last remnants of opposition and codifying its place in the state constitution.
Along with Amendment 5 over gun rights, the Right to Farm Amendment was challenged on the basis of summary language. Opposition claimed that the wording in the summary made voters believe that all Missouri citizens, not just farmers and ranchers, were being given the right to farm and protection from nuisance legislation. The Attorney General’s Office, representing the Amendment, attempted to get the case dismissed, their lawyers argued that the critics were too late in filing their lawsuit since they did not file the language complaint until after the ballots were made.
Yet, the Judges agreed to hear the case because they believed that the current deadlines to contest ballot summaries before the vote, especially when proposed so late in the election year by the Legislature, makes it difficult to challenge the measure before it hits the ballot. This sets a new precedent allowing voters to challenge the summaries of ballot issues in the courts after they’ve been approved by voters.
Although they agreed to hear the case, giving voters the foundation to challenge more Amendments after they have already passed, the judges upheld the summaries of the proposals saying they were fair. Chief Justice Mary Russell, who wrote the majority opinion for the ruling, stated:
“The ballot title was sufficient and fair, there was no election irregularity, and the results of the election adopting this amendment are valid.”
Wes Shoemyer, former state legislator and founder of his own misleadingly named ‘Food for America’ Political Action Committee (one major opposition to the Right to Farm Amendment), said he was disappointed in the court's decision. He also claimed that he would be keeping his PAC active.
On the other hand, Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst stated:
“It’s made the climate for agriculture better. When we invest in a piece of farm machinery, it’s a long term investment, and a very expensive one, and we need some sort of guarantee that the ability to reap the benefits of that investment will be there for us and our family in the future, and I think Amendment One did those things.”
Missouri Farm Bureau Federation and Affiliated Companies provided a great statement on supporting the court’s decision, which read:
“We are pleased the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in favor of upholding the election results for Amendment #1, the Missouri Farming Rights Amendment, approved last August. This was a desperate attempt by the opponents to thwart the will of a majority of Missouri voters by retrospectively claiming the ballot language was inadequate.
As Missourians we now have in our state constitution a much needed protection for the right of consumers to have adequate and affordable food choices and the right of farmers and ranchers to produce that food safely and humanely.”
We could not have said it better ourselves. The opposition was desperate, and they failed. We now have constitutional protection for farmers, ranchers, and consumers.
There you have it folks, the battle is finally over as farmers, ranchers, and all those who wish for affordable food options won. Common sense prevailed, and we are beyond pleased to say that the hard work and diligence of many Missouri supporters has paid off. Big thanks to the Missouri Supreme Court, Legislature, and voters for all that you have done to get this passed and for showing your support for the state’s food producers!