Why should we care about agriculture? If we want food, clothing, shelter and more importantly choice, then we should support the Right to Farm Amendment.
Missouri is diversified in its agriculture, from cow/calf operations, to crop farmers (row, orchards, and vineyards), dairies nestled in the hills and hollers. The American Angus Association and the American Hereford Association are headquartered in Missouri.
Unfortunately, the Humane Society of the United States does not believe that Missouri knows what is best for its farmers. It is the goal of HSUS to destroy agriculture policy in our state and put farmers out of a job.
Leading proponent for the Right to Farm Amendment, Missouri Farm Bureau, provides the following agriculture statistics. Missouri’s leading industry is agriculture with total sales of crops and livestock reaching 10 billion dollars in 2012 a 20 percent increase over 2010.
Approximately 40 percent of Missouri agriculture products are exported. Missouri has more than 100,000 farms growing a variety of crops from corn and soybeans from northwest Missouri to watermelon and rice in southeast Missouri. Southwest Missouri is known for raising hogs, cattle, turkeys and chickens for milk, meat and eggs. Winemaking is an up and coming industry.
I have had the opportunity to visit a variety of agriculturally related businesses in Missouri. Cutting edge technology can be found in animal health products and biotechnology within Missouri. Some of the most exciting research in plant breeding and plant improvement takes place in Missouri.
Agriculture is not only important to Missouri’s economy, but drives the national and world economy too. It is estimated that farmers will have to increase food production by 70 percent by 2050 to keep up with an increasing world population. In order to accomplish this daunting and valiant task, farmers will need to be more efficient to produce the food and fiber necessary in the upcoming years.
Ironically, it is going to take legislation to save the family farm and secure the field of agriculture in Missouri. The Right to Farm Amendment is trying to do just that.
The Right to Farm Amendment states:
“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 practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state, subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri.”
It is important that consumers realize that this amendment not only protects the farmer, but it protects the consumer. Currently, California has mandated the size of chicken crates for egg production with estimates that this practice will increase the cost of producing eggs by 20 percent.
Since California producers will no longer be competitive with producers in the other 49 states, the California legislature has moved to ban the importation of eggs from producers who don’t meet California standards. Restrictions on the importation of eggs from other states raise serious constitutional questions.
The question becomes, what agriculture practice will be next? How will it affect the farmer and the consumer?
Consumers should be given choices, and Missouri’s Right to Farm and Ranch Amendment guarantees that they continue to have those choices. Nothing in the amendment bans Missouri consumers from buying whatever food they choose to buy. Nothing in the amendment infringes on local control, and nothing in the amendment constrains Missouri farmers from using whatever production methods work best on their farms.
Why the sudden need for such amendment now? Missouri’s entire economic history is tied to agriculture, and agriculture remains the state’s most important business sector.
Improvements in agricultural practices have decreased the number of people directly connected to farms and ranches whether through occupation or through family. These changes have made agriculture vulnerable to attacks from well-funded, outside groups that push misinformation to the public creating burdensome and expensive regulations. These new regulations decrease profitably for farmers and ranchers, create a less safe and secure food supply, and drive food prices upward.
It is important that Missourians consider the negative outcomes that other states have endured as a result of an anti-agriculture agenda. These same groups are targeting Missouri using their propaganda to shut down Missouri agriculture as we know it.
Farming and ranching must be protected. As informed voters, we must look at the long term benefits of the Right to Farm Amendment.
As a fifth generation farmer, I want the opportunity to continue to farm and provide food choices to the consumer. I am proud to be a farmer and want to pass on that opportunity to future generations. If it takes a constitutional amendment to protect my livelihood, then so be it.
Stay informed. The facts are without farming, there will be no food, clothing, shelter, but more importantly, the consumer will have no choice in what they purchase.
Voting for The Right to Farm Amendment protects a way of life for farmers and ensures the consumer that they will be able to make choices about their food supply. Voting for the amendment will continue to strengthen the economy of Missouri in the world economy.
For more information about the Right to Farm Amendment visit these websites: Missouri Farm Bureau Protect the Harvest, and Keep Missouri farming.
Remember to Stay Informed, Educate yourself and others about this issue.
If you would want to see the farming rights amendment passed please vote yes in August.
Keep It Real Friends,
The Aggie Hipster