Make Your Vote an Informed Vote on Amendment One

The last two weeks I feel as though I’ve been brought back into debate class from high school and college. All thanks to the scare tactics, false information and ridiculous cartoons opposing Amendment One, “Right to Farm.” I will say, I was a bit skeptical if we really needed an actual amendment to solidify a right that we as citizens already have (or do we have?) Recently, Missouri has seen out of state groups trying to push their way into our great state to push their own legislative agendas, (remember Prop B the Puppy Mill legislative measure)? If you need a refresher, read my blog post from March 19: Farm Girl’s Perspective on the New Face for HSUS.

My vote that will be cast next week will be a HECK YES on Amendment One! After much research, talks with farmers of all shapes and sizes, phone calls to a few agricultural lawyers I trust and a prayer or two…I feel completely confident in this decision.

I’ve had many friends, farmers and family conversations about this bill over the last month, and I’ve seen a mountain of falsified information being spread online through social media platforms or from opponents of Amendment One, like the Truth is Local FB page and the Missouri’s Food for America FB page, who both have deleted accurate comments from readers on their pages. Word to the Wise: don’t participate in Social Media if you can’t handle comments from others that differ in your opinions. Therefore, after watching these actions of others and educating myself on the facts, I’m taking this opportunity to “clear the air” on a few myths about Amendment One, Right to Farm.

 Myths about Amendment One

1.) This bill would NOT allow farmers to break the law.
This bill does not give farmers a “free pass” when it comes to breaking the law; the bill clearly states that producers are subject to authorized powers as stated in Article VI of the Missouri constitution. In addition, throwing the law out of sight farmers and ranchers have an ethical and financial obligation to care for their livestock, land, water and air. Crop farmers ensure they don’t deplete soil or erosion because their yield will decrease and they will see less money in their pocket books. Any livestock producers knows that an animal that is well-taken care of will be less sick and be an efficient grower- making that farmer’s bottom-line increase.

2.) This bill is too vague.
I don’t think this amendment is any more vague than other amendments our country was built upon. Agriculture is the one industry our country has relied on, from the very beginning. Things might not be broken in Missouri (YET), but it’s happening in other states…and those states can thank HSUS and other out of state activist organizations for that.

3.) This bill is a blanket to let farmers do whatever they wish, without recourse.
The intent of RTF is to preserve local control of farms for farmers and ranchers, which is great for all farmers – both large and small, because the amendment allows each individual the decision-making power for their own farm. Saying that, again there are county health ordinances that will still be enforced to ensure producers are doing right. We have the “Right to Bear Arms” and the “Right of Freedom of Speech”- are these detailed and specific? No. Now, we have the Right to Farm as a ballot issue. Why? BC farmers are having rights taken away, rights in which I believe they deserve.

4.) This bill would force GMOs to all farmers.
FALSE- Did you read this anywhere in the bill? If you did, please show me where. This law doesn’t outlaw organic or GMO labeling, moreover it protects the right of those farmers to farm how they wish! There is room for all of us at the table, we need to wake-up and realize that and stop with the organic – GMO finger pointing.

5.) Large Ag Companies are sponsoring Amendment One.
No, no, no! I suggest you take a look at the supporters for Right to Farm: Mo Cattlemen’s Assn, Mo Pork Assn, Mo Farm Bureau, and the list goes on…these are all organizations that are complied of small, medium and large family farms, just like my own family. And for those of you who see Monsanto’s name as a supporter and say, “Monsanto is supporting this, so it has to be ONLY in their favor,” Get a CLUE! Monsanto supports farmers of all sizes as farmers are Monsanto’s customers, of coarse they are going to support this. In addition, Monsanto produces a LOT of vegetable seeds, which many growers use and then sell their harvest at markets across our great state. Producers have the right to choose to use seeds from a number of sources to fit the demand for their customers. And, farmers deserve that right to choose, as do the customers on their family’s food choices. FOOD FOR THOUGHT…

What I hate more than anything is I’ve seen HSUS Missouri Ag Committee draw a line even further between tradition and non-traditional farmers in my state. I’ve seen their speeches, their comments and their marketing and it’s very disheartening. It’s very sad that we are an ag industry that is becoming more divided in a time that we should be coming together as one.

A little advice for those who don’t farm, who don’t come from a farm, or don’t have anyone in their family that farms- ask a farmer what they think.  A real farmer who makes their living from their farm.  Someone who pays their mortgages from their farm, who’s car payment comes from their farm, who’s college funds for their kids come from the farm.  And, make sure the farmers you talk to are ones that represent different productions of agriculture (livestock, produce, row crops, etc).  Knowledge is Power- you have that power, don’t cast your vote without knowing ALL THE FACTS FIRST!

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