Farm groups who think agriculture needs to be protected by the state constitution have kicked off their campaign.
The proposed amendment to be voted on in August says simply, “the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state.” There’s some additional wording, but that’s the jist of it.
Missouri Cattleman’s Association Vice President Greg Buckman, who farms in Boone County, says it’s simple: “If I follow the law, no one can take away the right to raise cattle or farm in this state.”
But he and a handful of other agriculture organization leaders supporting the amendment have had trouble explaining what the amendment would change. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, who backs it, admits it won’t keep anyone from putting forth a new regulation and won’t eliminate the need for farmers to go to court to fight such a thing. “This gives them one more tool in the toolbox to defend themselves,” he says.
He says the amendment is a way for agriculture to push back against groups such as the Humane Society of the United States, which pushed a puppy mill initiative a few years ago. But it wouldn’t keep that group or others from circulating petitions.
The campaign to pass the amendment is not universally supported in the agriculture industry. Some other farm groups oppose it.
The exact language: 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 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.