By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
Voters narrowly approved a ballot measure Tuesday, in the August 5 primary election that makes farming a constitutional right in the state of Missouri. An idea that proponents say will offer protection to family farms from out-of-state animal activist groups, while opponents of the measure fear that the passage would strike down future initiatives limiting the way livestock are raised or the way crops are grown.
Amendment 1, also known as the ‘Right to Farm’ passed with just barely 50% of the vote, 50.127% (498,751) voting yes, and 49.873% (496,223) voting no, so close that it warrants a recount. There were four other ballot measures, but the ‘Right to Farm’ proposal was by far the hottest issue.
The measure asked Missouri voters if the state constitution should be changed to “ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed.”
Both sides of Amendment 1 spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach voters. The opposition (the no side), was funded almost entirely by the anti-agriculture group, the Humane Society of the United States, while proponents of the measure (the yes side), were funded by farmers, on behalf of about 15 farm organizations representing the various commodity groups.
North Dakota and Indiana already have “Right to Farm” statues in their state constitutions. The success of the vote in Missouri signals that the “Right to Farm” movement will likely gain momentum, and efforts could be made to get it on the ballot in other top producing agricultural states.