Right-to-Farm passes despite recount

After a recount, Amendment 1 passed with 2,375 votes.
Nate Compton / Graphic Designer

The Right-to-Farm Amendment, or Amendment 1, passed despite needing a recount of the votes. Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander certified Right-to-Farm with a lead of only 2,375 votes. Voters had originally passed Amendment 1 during the Aug. 5 primary, but a recount was called due to the close nature of the vote. The amendment asserts that in the state of Missouri, the right to farm is guaranteed. It is intended to prevent animals’ rights activists from obstructing the work of Missouri farmers.

“That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy,” the amendment states. “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.”

These protections made Amendment 1 possibly one of the most controversial amendments included in the primaries. Grassroots campaigns were launched on both sides to influence the public’s vote on the amendment.

Missouri Farmers Care was a major supporter of the amendment and is a coalescence of many major agriculture companies and organizations, such as the Missouri Pork Association, the Missouri Farm Bureau, Cargill, Monsanto and Hunte Kennel Systems.

Missouri’s Food For America provided the main opposition and was backed by many major newspapers in the state, such as the Columbia Missourian, Kansas City Star, Joplin Globe and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who all wrote editorials advising the public against the amendment.

Opponents to the amendment argued that legal issues would arise from its passage.

“We expect legal challenges to several current regulations on industrialized agriculture, as well as puppy mills,” the organization ‘Vote No On 1’ said in an email. “We are opposed to Right-To-Farm amendments, particularly the one in Missouri that we formed to defeat, because they provide blanket legal protections for industrialized agriculture. Even the most sensible regulations will now be up to the courts' interpretation.”

Missouri’s Food For America and other opponents of the amendment say they believe that the amendment will actually benefit the agriculture industry and end up hurting family farmers more than it would help them.

State Rep. Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, currently owns and operates Reiboldt Farms Inc. and has been an avid supporter of the bill. He has had a profession in agribusiness in dairy, beef and crop production for more than 40 years and said he does not believe it will have a negative impact on small farmers.

“The Amendment is good for all farmers, both large and small,” Reiboldt said. “This is for the future; it will help in the ongoing battle with animal rights groups. They are determined to destroy all animal agriculture.”

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