The state Supreme Court will be asked on Wednesday to consider a challenge to the so-called “Right to Farm” amendment voters approved putting into the state constitution in August.
Groups who opposed the amendment are asking the Court to remove it from the constitution even though its narrow passage was confirmed by a recount those opponents asked for.
Missouri Farmers’ Union president Richard Oswald said its ballot language mislead those voters.
“It doesn’t really do a good job of upholding the rights of family farmers at all,” Oswald told Missourinet.
Oswald and others who brought the court challenge say the amendment was really about allowing more foreign influence in farming.
“My problem is that if we’re going to pass an amendment that’s supposed to help family farmers, then that’s what it ought to say,” said Oswald. He wants the court to throw out the amendment in favor of a new one. “If we revisit that and any amendment that’s written after this one is, hopefully, turned down by the Supreme Court, will say what it means, and that is that Missouri’s family farmers are the heart of rural America and deserve the support of our state.”
Supporters of the amendment say the ballot language was accurate, and accuse opponents of siding with the Humane Society of the United States.
Don Nikodim chaired Missouri Farmers Care and said the Humane Society of the United States wants to block the amendment because it wants to impose its will on Missouri agriculture.
“They’re the lead entity that has put ballot initiatives in place in a variety of states to dictate to farmers how they raise their animals,” said Nikodim. “We saw it happen here in Missouri with the dog industry when they came in and did a ballot initiative and a lot of unknowing people see and hear the rhetoric from those organizations and without studying it they tend to vote in line with them.”
Nikodim said the right-to-farm amendment would make it more difficult for such efforts to succeed in Missouri.
The two sides will also argue before the Court whether it can strike that amendment from the constitution, and whether the opponents challenge was filed too late to be considered.