Opposition has developed within the Missouri agriculture industry to a proposed “right to farm” constitutional amendment. The major farm organizations want the amendment to pass in August. That’s the one saying, “The Right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state.”
But former Lieutenant Governor Joe Maxwell, who has a hog operation in Audrain County, charges the wording and the campaign by supporters is deceptive. He says he’s already protected by the Missouri Family Farm Act of 1975 but the amendment is intended to give special protections to big corporate farms. “What this is about is insuring that a multinational corporation, Smithfield in Missouri…owns 50,000 acres of Missouri farm land–we’ll be extending corporations of that scale the same rights that I have as a family farmer.”
Maxwell and his Missouri Food for American group say the amendment takes away rights of many rural counties to protect the health of their residents and even keeps the legislature from enacting regulations on situations that might arise in the future.
He agrees with other critics who say the amendment is so vaguely worded that it will keep lawyers and judges busy for a long time.