Missouri's 'Right to Farm' Continues To Stir Debate Ahead Of Vote

By Matt Lupoli | mlupoli@kolr10.com

Published 08/04 2014 09:46PM

Updated 08/05 2014 04:30AM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- In the days leading up to the Aug. 5 primary election, ads on both sides of the Amendment 1 debate have been hard to miss.

"It's about China's right to farm in Missouri," President of Missouri Farmers Union Richard Oswald said in an an ad paid for by Missouri's Food for America.

"I am a Missouri farmer and I support the Missouri farming rights amendment," a man identified as farmer Jim B. said in an ad paid for by Missouri Farmers Care.

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Both sides have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to claim out-of-state interests threaten the Show-Me landscape.

"Ninety-seven percent of Missouri's farms are family owned and operated, and they're under attack," Farmers Care claimed in another ad.

Farmers Care leads the support of the corn, pork, soy and dairy associations. MFA Inc., the Farm Bureau and the state Chamber of Commerce are just a few other businesses and organizations that also endorse it.

"(They want to) change our constitution so that foreign corporations get a free pass to abuse our land, drinking water and animals," Oswald said.

Food for America argues Right to Farm will harm Missouri. The farmers Union, the Humane Society of the United States and other similar groups agree.

According to the independent National Agricultural Law Center, Right to Farm legislation protects farms against "nuisance lawsuits," like odor complaints.

All 50 states have some form of that already, including Missouri. Current law says any farm that's been in operation for one year can't be deemed a nuisance if it wasn't one when it first cropped up. It also promises reasonable expansion so long as regulations are met.

Both sides agree, however, the new proposal would give more broad strength than current law.

For more information on support for the amendment, including a full list of groups that have endorsed it, visit mofarmerscare.com. For more information on opposition to the amendment, including a list of groups who urge a "no" vote, visit votenoon1.com.

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