Opponents of the Right to Farm amendment passed by voters in August hope the courts agree the legislature misled voters.
Three Missouri farm groups say the legislature intentionally misled voters by telling them one thing in the summary that was on the ballot, but saying something else in Amendment One. They also argue that the misleading language opens the door for extensive foreign ownership of farmland.
The ballot title read, “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed?”
But Missouri’s Food for America, the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, and the Missouri Farmers Union want the courts to set aside the results of the election because the amendment does not mention rights for “citizens.”
President Wes Shoemyer with Missouri’s Food for America says the amendment actually refers to “farmers and ranchers,” and that means “non-citizens” such as the Chinese company that bought Smithfield Foods. “We have 50,000 acres of our farmland owned by the Chinese. We have 27% of pork produced in this country owned by the Chinese. So now they are a ‘farmer and rancher’ but they are not a ‘citizen’ of Missouri. There’s a clear difference there.”
The amendment passed by less than 2,400 votes out of almost one-million votes cast.