Missouri’s Constitutional Amendment #1
by Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund
Vote NO and Protect Missouri’s Family Farms
Oppose Constitutional Amendment #1
On August 5, 2014, Missouri voters will decide on whether to pass Constitutional Amendment #1, also known as the “Right to Farm Amendment” (aka the “Right to Harm” amendment).
While the right to farm is something everyone should support, Amendment One serves as a bio-tech and concentrated animal feeding operation protection act. It does little or nothing to help the family farm.
Supporters of the amendment include Monsanto, Cargill, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Corn Growers, Missouri Cattleman’s Association, and Missouri Pork Association–all entities working to further the interests of industrial agriculture.
Amendment One is a broad, vague measure that will make factory farms and biotechnology companies increasingly unaccountable for their actions.
Significant agribusiness money has gone towards the passage of Amendment One. The small farm community is strongly opposed to the amendment and needs a strong grassroots turnout to be successful on August 5.
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Three Points to Share
Spread the Word! Vote NO on Amendment #1
The amendment will benefit biotech and mega farm companies, not Missouri’s small family farms nor consumers seeking wholesome locally grown food.
BAIT & SWITCH PHRASING – “Missouri citizens”?
Amendment One poses to add a new section to the Missouri Constitution, Section 35. The question posed on the ballot will read:
the right of Missouri citizens
What is deceptive is that the actual language going into the Missouri Constitution is different. It will read:
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 practicesshall be forever guaranteed in this state, subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri.
The phrase “farmers and ranchers” can easily be interpreted to mean not only “corporations” but even “foreign corporations.” Smithfield, which has a substantial presence in Missouri, was recently sold to a corporation in China.
ORIGINAL INTENT – Protect Big Ag
This constitutional change could control over any other laws governing factory farming and the use of biotechnology. The push for Amendment One came about due to the passage of a bill regulating puppy mills in 2011. Supporters of the amendment argued that the measure was needed to protect farmers from radical animal rights groups but it was clear there were other motives for the amendment as well.
These phrases were omitted from the final version of the bill that passed but the measure on the ballot is still broad enough to be interpreted in a way such that there could be no consequences for the damage caused by biotechnology and factory farming practices.
BIG AG DOLLARS TALKING – Ambiguous terms
The vague language in the amendment would likely lead to many court challenges. Missouri already has a right to farm act that protects agricultural operations from nuisance suits “so long as all county, state, and federal environmental codes, laws, or regulations are met.” Biotech and factory farming corporations can afford the lawyers and attack laws regulating their operations until they get the results they want.
The Missouri Farm Bureau’s Fund to Protect Farming & Ranching and the Marion County Farm Bureau Committee were the only campaign committees registered with the Missouri Ethics Commission as supporters of Amendment #1. Thus far, the top five contributors to the campaign are reported to be: Missouri Soybean Association $100,500.00; Missouri Pork PAC $75,000.00; Missouri Pork Association $60,500.00; FCS Financial $48,000.00; and Missouri Farm Bureau $47,342.77.