Missouri Right-to-Farm, Amendment 1 (August 2014)

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Amendment 1
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Missouri Constitution
Referred by:Missouri State Legislature
Topic:Food and agriculture
Status:Approved Approveda
2014 measures
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August 5
Amendment 1 Approveda
Amendment 5 Approveda
Amendment 7 Defeatedd
Amendment 8 Defeatedd
Amendment 9 Approveda
November 4
Amendment 2
Amendment 3
Amendment 6
Amendment 10
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Local measures
The Missouri Right-to-Farm, Amendment 1 was on the August 5, 2014 primary election ballot in Missouri as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it appears to have been approved.[1] A recount is being considered by opponents due to the tight election results.[2] If the count is upheld, the measure would explicitly guarantee farmers and ranchers the right to engage in their livelihoods and produce food for others. What exactly that means, however, has been a point of debate in the Missouri agricultural community.[3][4]

Supporters argued that all farmers and ranchers need protections due to out-of-state interests in restricting certain practices. Opponents countered that the amendment would actually provide protections to large corporate and multinational agribusiness, and it would, in fact, make it harder for family farmers and ranchers to protect themselves from business interests. Amendment 1's broadly written language made postulating possible outcomes difficult. If officially passed, the official definition of "right-to-farm" will likely be decided in the courts.[5]

The right-to-farm was protected from nuisance suits by by Section 537.295 of the Missouri Revised Statutes at the time of Amendment 1's proposal.

Amendment 1 was sponsored by Representative Bill Reiboldt (R-160) in the Missouri House of Representatives, where it was known as House Joint Resolution 11. In May 2014, Governor Jay Nixon (D) chose to place this measure, along with four others, on the August 5 primary election ballot, instead of the November 4 general election ballot.[6]

Election results


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This ballot measure article has preliminary election results. Certified election results will be added as soon as they are made available by the state or county election office. The following totals are as of 100 percent of precincts reporting.

Missouri Amendment 1 (2014)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 498,751 50.13%
No496,22349.87%

Election results via: Missouri Secretary of State

Text of measure

Ballot title

The language appeared on the ballot as:

MO 2014 Amendment 1 sample ballot.JPG[7]

The official ballot title and fair ballot language were as follows:[8]

Official Ballot Title:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed?
The potential costs or savings to governmental entities are unknown, but likely limited unless the resolution leads to increased litigation costs and/or the loss of federal funding.

Fair Ballot Language:

A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to guarantee the rights of Missourians to engage in farming and ranching practices, subject to any power given to local government under Article VI of the Missouri Constitution.
A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding farming and ranching.
If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.[7]

Constitutional changes

If approved, the measure will add a section 35 to Article I of the Missouri Constitution. The new section would read:[9]

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 practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state, subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri.[7]


Background

Missouri Constitution
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Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIII

According to the Farm Foundation, right-to-farm laws were originally developed as a way to protect agricultural operations by allowing owners or operators who meet the legal requirements of the right-to-farm law a defense to nuisance suits which might be brought against the operation. Between 1963 and 1994, every state enacted some form of right-to-farm legislation. By 1998, some states had enacted two, or, in the cases of Minnesota and Iowa, three types of such laws.[10][11]

As of Amendment 1's proposal, these laws had been seen by supporters as providing protections for aspects of agriculture that were unavoidable but often contested by those outside of the agriculture industry, such as odors, flies, dust, noise from field work, spraying of farm chemicals and slow-moving farm machinery. These laws tended to have similar formats from state-to-state. Most of the laws defined to some degree the purpose behind passage of the protection, cited the need to conserve and protect agricultural land and stated a need to encourage the development and improvement of agricultural land for food production. They frequently pointed to the extension of nonagricultural land use into traditionally agricultural areas as an explanation for the increase in nuisance suits. The differences between state laws usually came in the definitions for terms such as agricultural operations, agricultural activities, farming and farm operation in state statutes.[10]

While efforts and legislation surrounding the right-to-farm movement were not new at the time of HJR 11's passage, they were still debated.[12][13] The Farm Foundation said of such measures in 1998, "The agricultural community is still not well-versed in the mechanism for usage of a right-to-farm statute, preferring to think of the statutes as a general blanket protection for all agricultural activities while the statutes were never intended to be applied in that manner."[10] A 2005 paper by Professor Terence J. Centner of the University of George highlighted the ongoing conversation. Read more about his study in the reports and analyses section.

CRS definition

According to a 2005 report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), right-to-farm laws can be defined as follows:

Right to farm laws (sometimes called nuisance laws) deny nuisance suits against farmers who use accepted and standard farming practices, even if these practices harm or bother adjacent property owners or the general public. Agricultural nuisances may include noise, odors, visual clutter and dangerous structures. Every state has some form of a right-to-farm law.[7]

—Congressional Research Service, [14]

Likely court challenges

The language of the measure changed quite drastically during its time in legislative debates. According to the St. Louis Beacon, the original version in the Missouri House would have prohibited initiative petitions to regulate any farming practices. While the version which was voted upon was not as extreme, it will likely be challenged in court due to the broad, vague language of the final compromise, if approved.[5]

Current statutes

Section 537.295 of the Missouri Revised Statutes in 2013 provided agriculture operations with protections against nuisance suits. This right-to-farm law reads as follows:

537.295. 1. No agricultural operation or any of its appurtenances shall be deemed to be a nuisance, private or public, by any changed conditions in the locality thereof after the facility has been in operation for more than one year, when the facility was not a nuisance at the time the operation began. An agricultural operation protected pursuant to the provisions of this section may reasonably expand its operation in terms of acres or animal units without losing its protected status so long as all county, state, and federal environmental codes, laws, or regulations are met by the agricultural operation. Reasonable expansion shall not be deemed a public or private nuisance, provided the expansion does not create a substantially adverse effect upon the environment or creates a hazard to public health and safety, or creates a measurably significant difference in environmental pressures upon existing and surrounding neighbors because of increased pollution. Reasonable expansion shall not include complete relocation of a farming operation by the owner within or without the present boundaries of the farming operation; however, reasonable expansion of like kind that presently exists, may occur. If a poultry or livestock operation is to maintain its protected status following a reasonable expansion, the operation must ensure that its waste handling capabilities and facilities meet or exceed minimum recommendations of the University of Missouri extension service for storage, processing, or removal of animal waste. The protected status of an agricultural operation, once acquired, shall be assignable, alienable, and inheritable. The protected status of an agricultural operation, once acquired, shall not be waived by the temporary cessation of farming or by diminishing the size of the operation. The provisions of this section shall not apply whenever a nuisance results from the negligent or improper operation of any such agricultural operation or its appurtenances.

2. As used in this section the term "agricultural operation and its appurtenances" includes, but is not limited to, any facility used in the production or processing for commercial purposes of crops, livestock, swine, poultry, livestock products, swine products or poultry products.

3. The provisions of this section shall not affect or defeat the right of any person, firm or corporation to recover damages for any injuries sustained by it as a result of the pollution or other change in the quantity or quality of water used by that person, firm or corporation for private or commercial purposes, or as a result of any overflow of land owned by or in the possession of any such person, firm or corporation.

4. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any nuisance resulting from an agricultural operation located within the limits of any city, town or village on August 13, 1982.

5. In any nuisance action brought in which an agricultural operation is alleged to be a nuisance, and which is found to be frivolous by the court, the defendant shall recover the aggregate amount of costs and expenses determined by the court to have been reasonably incurred in his behalf in connection with the defense of such action, together with a reasonable amount for attorneys fees. [7]

—Missouri Revised Statutes 2013, [15]

Support

Rep. Reiboldt was the primary sponsor of HJR 11 in the Missouri Legislature. Amendment 1 was supported by a wide range of farmer and rancher associations and agribusiness corporations. Missouri Farmers Care and the Missouri Farm Bureau were the most active proponents of the measure. Supporters argued that Amendment 1 was a necessary step to protect the livelihood of farmers and ranchers from out-of-state interests, as well as to protect the food supply. As the number of people living in rural areas and working in agricultural industries decreased, the general populace has had a similar decrease in understanding of agricultural issues, according to supporters. They said protecting the right-to-farm is a necessary step, given those changing demographics.

Supporters

See also: A full list of Amendment 1 supporters

Officials

Agricultural organizations

  • Missouri Farmers Care[5][16][20]
  • Cargill
  • Missouri Corn Growers Association
  • Missouri Soybeans
  • Missouri Farm Bureau
  • Missouri Cattlemen's Association
  • MFA Incorporated
  • Missouri Pork Association
  • FCS Financial
  • Missouri Veterinary Medical Association
  • Missouri Dairy Association
  • Hunte Corporation
  • Missouri Egg Council
  • Missouri Equine Council
  • MoFed, Missouri Federation of Animal Owners
  • Missouri Sheep Producers
  • SouthWestern Association
  • United Producers, Inc.
  • Missouri Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association
  • The Poultry Federation
  • St. Louis Agribusiness Club
  • Missouri Levee & Drainage District Association
  • Missouri Association of Meat Processors
  • Protect the Harvest
  • American Soybean Association
Missouri Farmers Care.jpg

Other organizations

  • Missouri Family Network[16]
  • MFA Oil
  • Missouri Grocers Association
  • Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives
  • United All Breed Registry
  • Missouri Chamber of Commerce
  • Columbia Chamber of Commerce

Arguments


Missouri Farmers Bureau: "Keep Missouri Farming - Support Amendment #1"

Missouri Farmers Care claimed that the amendment would save jobs, protect family farms from out-of-state animal-rights groups and "protect small and family farmers as they do not have the resources to mount legal challenges or relocate their farms like corporations can."[21]

In an October 23, 2013, article on the Missouri Farmers Care website, attorney Brent Haden of Haden & Byrne Law Firm in Columbia, Missouri, argued in favor of the measure. He stated that although Missouri has a long history with agriculture, fewer people were directly connected to farms and ranching than in the past. He claimed that "[this] has made agriculture vulnerable to attacks from well funded outside groups that push misinformation on the public to pass burdensome and expensive regulations." According to Haden, these regulations made farming and ranching less profitable, endangered the food supply and increased food prices.[22]

Supporters argued that outside interest groups, such as the Humane Society of the United States, were attempting to restrict agricultural practices in the state. The Humane Society supported Proposition B in 2010, which required owners of 10 dogs or more to meet certain requirements, as well as limiting owners to no more than 50 breeding dogs. Several proponents of Amendment 1 pointed to Proposition B as evidence of the influence of out-of-state parties trying to affect state agricultural laws. Additionally, they pointed to the passage of seven "anti-agricultural" laws across the country. The majority of these were limits on the use of gestation stalls and veal calf stalls. Gestation stalls are used to house female pigs during pregnancy and restrict their movement. The Humane Society and other advocacy groups have called the use of such stalls cruel, while many farms have countered that such pens are necessary due to aggressive behavior if the pregnant hogs are allowed to mingle.[17]


Missouri Farmers Bureau: "Keep Missouri Farming - Support from Federal & State Leaders"



  • The League of Women Voters provided a nonpartisan voters guide for all amendments in Missouri. They included the following arguments in favor of Amendment 1:
Proponents say farmers need protection from regulations promoted by outside "environmental extremists" and animal rights groups. They say Missouri growers and ranchers are knowledgeable about proper farming practices. They argue that the amendment would save jobs and protect small and family farmers who can't afford to mount legal challenges or relocate their farms.[7]

League of Women Voters, [23]

  • The Franklin County Democrats provided summaries and arguments written by Rep. Jeanne Kirkton (D-91) for and against each amendment on the August ballot. She provided the following arguments in favor of Amendment 1:
Missouri agriculture is under attack by well-funded, extremist anti-agriculture organizations and needs protection under the state constitution.

Missouri farmers and ranchers – not animal-rights groups, environmentalists and government bureaucrats — know what is best when it comes to raising crops and livestock.

The Missouri Farming Rights Amendment will save jobs and defend the hard-working farm families who drive our state economy.

The Missouri Farming Rights Amendment will help ensure our food supply remains plentiful and inexpensive.

The Missouri Farming Rights Amendment will protect small family farms and large-scale agriculture operations equally and won’t place the interests of one above the other.

The Missouri Farming Rights Amendment only protects farmers and ranchers against unreasonable regulations and restrictions and doesn’t give them a “blank check” to do whatever they want or prohibit the enactment of reasonable laws relating the agriculture.[7]

Rep. Kirkton, [24]

  • Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-34) supported the measure, though he had, in the past, expressed concerns over the public's safety if the amendment were adopted, saying that it could lead to a situation in which it is more difficult for state regulators to control super-food poisoning bugs created as a result of feeding antibiotics to livestock.[25]

Campaign contributions

Total campaign cash Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png
Category:Ballot measure endorsements Support: $1,097,307.64
Circle thumbs down.png Opposition: $532,997.17

The Missouri Farm Bureau's Fund to Protect Farming & Ranching and Marion County Farm Bureau Committee were the only campaign committees registered with the Missouri Ethics Commission in support of Amendment 1. Missouri Farmers Care and Republicans Of Pike County were registered as political action committees (PACs) supporting this measure, as well. The totals for Missouri Farmers Care and Republicans Of Pike County only include 2014 contributions and expenditures. PAC money is not always spent on one measure. The following PAC totals represent all contributions received by the PAC in 2014, but only expenditures on Amendment 1.[26]

Campaign committee & PAC info:
Note: The following totals are from the Missouri Ethics Commission's financial summaries of the committee or PAC available as of August 1, 2014.

Campaign committee or PAC Amount raised Amount spent
Missouri Farmers Care (PAC) $884,694.23 $995,685.60
Missouri Farm Bureau's Fund To Protect Farming & Ranching (CC) $187,658.47 $131,806.77
Republicans Of Pike County (PAC) $20,854.94 $140.00
Marion County Farm Bureau Committee (CC) $4,100.00 $2,750.00
Total $1,097,307.64 $1,130,382.37
Note: PACs may be raising funds to support more than one ballot measure. Contribution totals do not distinguish between multiple ballot measures. Expenditures are only those made on behalf of this measure.

Top 5 contributors:
Note: The following totals are accurate as of reports available July 28, 2014.

Donor Amount
Missouri Soybean Association $100,500.00
Missouri Pork PAC $75,000.00
Missouri Pork Association $60,500.00
FCS Financial $48,000.00
Missouri Farm Bureau $47,342.77

Campaign advertisements

The following page contains television campaign advertisements for campaigns in favor of the measure:

Opposition

Amendment 1 did not receive unanimous support from the agricultural community, especially by those concerned by how it could affect smaller agricultural operations. Missouri's Food for America was the main opposing group. Additionally, former state senator Wes Shoemyer was a significant leader in the charge against this measure. Opponents focused on how the vague language of the amendment could allow for strong protections for large agribusiness operations, including internationally owned operations, that could ultimately harm small farms and ranches. Arguments against Amendment 1 frequently pointed to Smithfield Foods, which was owned, in part, by Chinese corporations, as an example of how the state was already failing to protect family-owned agricultural industry. Additional concerns were raised over how the measure could be used to prevent the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and to regulate pollution caused by agribusinesses, including concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Missouri's Food for America.jpg

Opponents

Former officials

Organizations

  • Missouri Farmers Union
  • Missouri's Food for America
  • Missouri Citizens for Change
  • Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation
  • Missourians for the Protection of Farmers against CAFOs
  • Humane Society of the United States
  • Missouri Association for Social Welfare (MASW)[27]
  • Democracy for Missouri[28]
  • Great Plains SPCA
  • Hold Yer Horses, Boone County
  • KC Move to Amend
  • Sierra Club
  • Sustainable Farms and Communities
  • Southwest Missouri Democrats[29]
  • Constitution Party of Missouri[30]

Arguments

Missouri's Food for America Vote no logo.jpg

Schoemyer discusses his opposition to Amendment 1 on July 15, 2014.

The Missouri Farmers Union argued against Amendment 1 because they believed it would provide protections for large agribusiness corporations, saying, "Now that a company based in the Peoples Republic of China owns Smithfield Foods, the General Assembly is at it again by enshrining them in the sacred Constitution." In an editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, president of the Missouri Farmers Union, Richard R. Oswald, argued that much of recent Missouri legislation that claimed to protect farmers was actually benefiting corporations to the detriment of small farmers. He said of the amendment,

Supposedly designed to assure the right to farm for Missouri citizens, its vague wording is bound to favor corporations, even Chinese corporations, over Missouri family farms. That’s because Supreme Court rulings that a corporation is a person play into the hands of Amendment 1 supporters of corporate food control.

Amendment 1 in Missouri could grant even the worst corporations the right to do whatever they want when they claim to be “farmer” or “rancher.”

Some say we can never return to the days when family farms produced the bulk of what we eat. That will be true so long as Missourians continue to elect those who favor the politics of big food. Missouri voters can reverse that trend. It’s time they did.[7]

—Richard R. Oswald, [31]

On January 21, 2014, Missouri's Food For America gathered at the state capitol to argue against the amendment. The group was led by Monroe County farmer and former state legislator Wes Shoemyer. Shoemyer argued that the constitutional status of the measure would allow it to override all other state statutes dealing with agriculture. He said, "Whenever we see this type of constitutional amendment, it will actually take away folks right for redress if there are some very egregious nuisance of environmental issues that might arise in the future." For example, a farmer who wanted to farm either organic or non-genetically modified organism (GMO) crops would have no redress if their crops are contaminated by GMO crops. He argued that the amendment would not protect farmers, but instead, agribusiness corporations like Monsanto and Cargill.[32]

On June 19, 2014, about 50 opponents of Amendment 1 rallied at the Missouri Capitol to encourage people to vote against the measure. Participants handed out fliers that claimed if the amendment passes, it could allow foreign corporation to buy farmland, limit regulations on polluters, puppy mills and genetically modified organisms.[33]


John Ikerd Ph.D. presents a national context for his opposition to Amendment 1.

The Constitution Party of Missouri opposed Amendment 1 due to the following problems they perceived in the measure:

1. Citizens of Missouri already have the right to farm and ranch. This is a natural right possessed from birth. The permission of the state is not needed.

2. The wording in the ballot language and that in the actual new section of law is different. What is the definition of agricultural production and ranching practices or farming and ranching practices? This language is vague and ambiguous. The meaning of these words will have to be determined by the legislature and/or the courts. Therefore farming or ranching will mean whatever government determines it to mean.

3. By far the largest problem in this proposed amendment is the words, “subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri”. Article VI of the Missouri Constitution refers to local governments, the cities and counties in this state. So passage of this amendment would guarantee the right to farm and ranch, SUBJECT TO THE WHIMS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS.[7]

—Constitution Party of Missouri, [30]

The League of Women Voters provided a nonpartisan voters guide for all amendments in Missouri. They included the following arguments in opposition to Amendment 1:

Opponents say the amendment's wording is vague and doesn't define farming and ranching practices. They also contend that it could favor corporate farms over family farms and may lead to environmental damage. They say state regulators would have more difficulty controlling food poisoning bugs created as a result of feeding antibiotics to livestock, large concentrated animal feeding operations and pet breeding facilities. The amendment, they say, also could result in high litigation costs for the state.[7]

League of Women Voters, [23]

The Franklin County Democrats provided summaries and arguments written by Rep. Jeanne Kirkton (D-91) for and against each amendment on the August ballot. She provided the following arguments in opposition to Amendment 1:


Missouri's Food for America: "Vote No on Amendment 1!"
Amendment 1 is an effort by large corporate agriculture conglomerates to put their interests ahead of those of small family farms.

In particular, Amendment 1 could protect Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods Inc., which operates several concentrated animal feeding operations in Missouri, in its ongoing legal battles over pollution caused by its facilities.

Amendment 1 also could leave family farmers with no legal recourse if their crops become contaminated by genetically modified organisms from nearby corporate farming operations.

Amendment 1 is so vaguely worded that Missouri courts will have to decide what it actually means. This could result in years of expensive litigation and produce uncertain outcomes.

To avoid a potential conflict with the right to farm, Amendment 1 could prompt groups using the initiative process to ask voters to enact future regulations or restrictions on agriculture by constitutional amendment, which can’t be changed by the General Assembly, instead of statutory proposition, which is subject to later modification or repeal by lawmakers. As a result, Amendment 1 could backfire on supporters and ultimately result in farmers and ranchers enjoying fewer constitutional protections.[7]

Rep. Kirkton, [24]


Campaign contributions

Missouri's Food for America registered as a PAC opposing Amendment 1 on January 9, 2014. Raytown Democratic Association and the 28th Ward Democrats Campaign Committee were also PACs opposing Amendment 1. They were supporting multiple measures, therefore the following totals represent their total contributions received in 2014, but the expenditures are only what they have spent on Amendment 1.[26]

Campaign committee & PAC info:
Note: The following totals are from the Missouri Ethics Commission's financial summaries of the committee or PAC available as of August 1, 2014.

Committee or PAC Amount raised Amount spent
Missouri's Food for America (PAC) $530,129.17 $479,375.91
Raytown Democratic Association (PAC) $1,875.00 $45.63
28th Ward Democrats Campaign Committee (PAC) $993.00 $93.32
Total $532,997.17 $479,514.86
Note: PACs maybe raising funds to support more than one ballot measure. Contribution totals do not distinguish between multiple ballot measures. Expenditures are only those made on behalf of this measure.
Humane Society Legislative Fund logo.JPG

Top 5 contributors:
Note: The following totals are accurate as of reports available July 28, 2014.

Donor Amount
Humane Society Legislative Fund $375,000.00
Thomas Smith $25,000
Richard Camp $10,000.00
Humane Society of the United States $9,788.11
Teamsters Joint Council No. 56 $5,000.00

Campaign advertisements

The following page contains television campaign advertisements for campaigns in opposition to the measure:

Monsanto position

Conflicting reports existed regarding the position taken by the agribusiness corporation Monsanto. Several news outlets and other sources reported that the company was supporting the amendment.[34][35][36] However, a July 26, 2014, article by The Joplin Globe quoted Charla Lord, a communications official for Monsanto, as saying that the company was officially neutral on the issue, despite being a member of Missouri Farmers Care, a supporting organization. Additionally, the paper reported that while the company had given $500 to Missouri Farmers Care, Lord described the payment as an "annual due."[37] A report by St. Louis Public Radio corroborated that information.[38]

Additionally, Lord told Ballotpedia,

Monsanto was always neutral. Some connected Monsanto to Amendment 1 when in reality we never lobbied for or against the measure. In addition, we did not participated in any campaigns surrounding Amendment 1. I think the writers of these incorrect statements assumed Monsanto had taken a position on the measure because we are a member of Missouri Farmers Care. The truth is our membership dates back three years to the time when the group was founded and our only support of the MFC is our $500 annual dues.[7]

—Charla Lord, [39]

Reports and analyses

AP analysis

Gov. Nixon's decision to place this measure and four others on the August primary election ballot instead of the November general election ballot could have political and legal ramifications, according to Associated Press reporter David A. Lieb. For example, it was presumed that Amendment 1 would draw many rural residents to the polls in November. Since rural Missouri voters tend to vote for Republicans over Democrats, it could have been a bigger boon to Republican candidates to have those voters come out to the November election, rather than the August primary. Similarly, the lawsuit over Amendment 5 was dismissed, at least in part, due to time constraints that would not have applied if the measure was on the November ballot, instead. Lieb summarized the potential impact of gubernatorial placement of ballot measures on the primary ballot, saying, "a governor who doesn't like a particular ballot measure could diminish its political impact by placing it on the August ballot, but that also could hinder the ability of opponents to challenge it in court."[40]

Read the full analysis here.

Centner (2005)

Professor Terence J. Centner of the University of George published a paper questioning how far right-to-farm laws should go in 2005 edition of the Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review. The article specifically analyzed two Iowa court cases that found right-to-farm legislation in that state unconstitutional, as well as considering what aspects of such legislation actually protect. The author identified at least two goals of right-to-farm legislation across the country:[41]

  • Protecting producers from rising nuisance cases due to urbanization of agricultural areas
  • Protecting farmland and other natural resources

Centner's Iowa case study demonstrated that some right-to-farm laws go too far and can be considered to be "a taking of private property without just compensation." The Iowa Supreme Court found that the "law extinguished prospective rights to maintain lawsuits for noise, odors, an dust, thereby impelling easements upon neighboring prosperities in and around designated agricultural areas."[41]

Centner noted that some of the motivations for right-to-farm laws, such as the preservation of agricultural land and protection of family farms, have had widespread support, but right to farm laws have eroded some of that support by protecting "ancillary business activities such as feed mills and processing plants" from nuisance suits. He described the problem saying,

The public may find that widespread interference with common law nuisance is not in its best interest. A court may find that an expansive anti-nuisance provision goes too far in denigrating property interests of neighbors.[7]

—Professor Terence J. Centner, [41]

As a possible solution to such objections, Centner suggested that right-to-farm legislation could shift its approach by separating the "market economy from the economy of nature." This included seeing anti-nuisance protection as applying to a natural resource, rather than a business protection.[41]

Read the full analysis here.

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Missouri ballot measures, 2014

Support

  • The Southeast Missourian said,
Like a few other amendments on the ballot, we believe this is a more symbolic than substance. Even Missouri's governor, who opposes the measure, believes this will not have much effect. [...] Within reason, farmers should be able to farm their land how they see fit. It's an individual liberty issue. Sure, there are regulations in place, and the Missouri Farm Bureau says this will not prevent laws currently on the books from applying. Similarly, it's not a blanket protection from the Environmental Protection Agency.[7]

Southeast Missourian, [42]

Opposition

  • The Sullivan Journal said,
The citizens of Missouri already have a right to farm and any contention that we're losing it is absolute nonsense. Foreign ownership and intervention by others is already protected. In fact, if Amendment 1 passes, corporate farms may actually escape regulations concerned with chemical use, animal treatment, and waste disposal. Amendment 1, according to university studies, may actually promote puppy mills and other inhumane animal-breeding operations. The amendment may also limit municipalities from keeping noxious corporate livestock farms away from citizens. This amendment is not for the little family farmer - it's for the corporate farms and others that do not have our interests in mind.[7]

Sullivan Journal, [43]

  • The Sedalia Democrat said,
If the intent of Amendment 1 is to shield our farmers and ranchers from nuisance lawsuits, that is already ensured by Section 537.295 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. If, as it seems, the intent is to limit the right of the people to seek future ballot initiatives regarding any topic having to do with undefined “agricultural production and ranching practices,” we must urge voters to reject the measure on principle. [...] The Missouri Constitution should be reserved for laying out the broad framework of rights and responsibilities that direct the governance of our state, not as a testing ground for blanket protections against a threat the amendment can’t even define.[7]

Sedalia Democrat, [44]

  • The Kirksville Daily Express said,
[...] Amendment 1 is so vaguely written, so poorly constructed, that it’s difficult to tell if supporting it would actually be a blessing to family farmers in the long run. We can’t be putting question marks into the Missouri Constitution. Additionally, we feel it’s a slippery slope to begin listing out specific rights to do things. Where does it end? Without an amendment guaranteeing our right to fish, or paint, do we have those rights? No one questions that now, but the moment we begin selectively choosing which rights to enshrine we walk a dangerous path.[7]

Kirksville Daily Express, [45]

  • The Missourian said,
Amendment 1 is the so-called right to farm proposal. Farmers are divided on it. We don’t see a need for it and many farmers are being misled on its purposes. It’s not needed to protect farmers.[7]

The Missourian, [46]

  • The West Plains Daily Quill said,
All farming and ranching practices are guaranteed forever? The right to build factory farms--including those with thousands of hogs confined next to family farms? Spraying poison over our homes and farms that can also drift over towns? Protected absolutely and forever? Do we want that?[7]

—Frank L. Martin III, editor and publisher of West Plains Daily Quill, [47]

  • The Springfield News-Leader said,
Missouri law already protects the “Right to Farm” in Section 537.295 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. If that law is not sufficient, or found to be too restrictive or lenient, the legislature has recourse to fix it, just as it did in 2011. Missouri voters should be wary of this latest effort, opposed by HSUS but supported by “big ag.” Creating a constitutional protection for all agricultural enterprises could create a haven for corporate farms that pollute our environment and put undue pressure on family farms.[7]

—Editorial Board, [48]

  • The News Tribune said,
Although proponents’ literature doesn’t specify, the August amendment is a virtual “No Trespassing” sign aimed at pesky groups concerned with animal welfare, genetically modified food, use of antibiotics in livestock, etc. [...] The undefined “production” and “practices” are an invitation to sue, which essentially will move the debate from the legislative arena, where it belongs, to the judiciary.[7]

News Tribune, [49]

  • The Ozarks Sentinel said,
Would this proposed Amendment destroy any chance of our ever having a right to know if we are eating GMO products or not? It sure could be argued that letting people know what they are consuming would prohibit farmers from using some “modern” “technology” in their ag endeavors.

This bill is NOT good for farmers. It will greatly increase further consolidation of agriculture, increase proliferation of genetically modified patented life forms, and destroy local control of the spread of the consolidating (ie. Family Farm Destroying) CAFO’s.

There is only one segment of the population that this is “good” for. The Biotech and Mega Farm Corporations.[7]

The Ozarks Sentinel, [50]

  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said,
Passing an amendment that likely does nothing, but might possibly provide large corporations extra protections against consumer interests, is very bad public policy. Farming is, always has been, and likely always will be an important part of life in Missouri. Even some of our largest urban corporations, the Monsantos and Pfizers and Purinas and Anheuser-Busches, have a direct connection to the farm. That’s not going to change, and no occasional concern over inhumane treatment of animals will ever, as Mr. Hurst's predecessor, Charles Kruse suggested in 2010, “eliminate the livestock industry.” Vote No on Amendment 1. Let Mr. Hurst and his pals howl at the moon all they want. But don’t enshrine moon-howling in the Missouri Constitution.[7]

—Editorial Board, [51]

  • The Kansas City Star said,
It is not. Agriculture in Missouri is a profitable industry. Amendment 1 is a concerted effort to shield factory farms and concentrated agricultural feeding operations from regulations to protect livestock, consumers and the environment. Voters should say “no” to this unnecessary and potentially harmful proposal. [...] No single industry or occupation deserves constitutional immunity. It’s the legislature’s job to determine the delicate balance among the interests of farmers, consumers and communities. In putting Amendment 1 on the ballot, lawmakers sought to shirk that responsibility. Voters shouldn’t let them get away with it.[7]

The Kansas City Star, [52]


Joe Maxwell, former lieutenant governor of Missouri, speaking against Amendment 1.
  • The Joplin Globe was critical of Missouri Farmers Care's behavior regarding a debate that was scheduled for July 9, 2014. The debate was supposed to take place between Rep. Bill Reiboldt (R-160) and Joe Maxwell, an officer of the Humane Society of the United States and former lieutenant governor of Missouri. According to the paper, Reiboldt agreed to the debate knowing it would be with Maxwell, but Missouri Farmers Care told Reiboldt that they did not want him to participate in the debate. The paper stated, "If Missouri Farmers Care really cares about letting the public understand the truth, it will make sure someone shows up Wednesday to answer questions about Amendment 1." The Joplin Globe also stated that it had yet to take a stance for or against the amendment, at that time.[53]

The paper later took an opposition stance on the measure, saying,

We suspect critics of the amendment are on to something when they say this is a measure designed to protect corporate agriculture rather than the traditional family farm. In fact, we’d be better off making sure that public ownership of water, for example, and the right to clean water and clean air are enshrined in the state constitution. That’s an amendment we can get behind, but we can’t get behind Amendment 1.[7]

The Joplin Globe, [54]

  • The Columbia Daily Tribune said,
Lacking clear reason, we should not go about amending the constitution. [...] If Amendment 1 fails, I can’t see trouble for the agriculture industry that can’t and won’t be protected by existing government authority. On the other hand, if it passes, mischief might later be done in the name of “agriculture” that should not be protected by the constitution.[7]

—Henry J. Waters, III, editor of Columbia Daily Tribune, [55]

  • The St. Louis American has endorsed a "no" vote on Amendment 1.[56]

Polls

See also: Polls, 2014 ballot measures
  • The Wickers Group (TWG) commissioned a poll of 400 registered and likely voters from March 1-4, 2014. They asked two questions. The first questions was in regards to how many voters had heard of the amendment. Only 36% of the respondents said yes, while 59% said no and 5% were either unsure or refused to answer. The second question asked voters if they would vote for the measure, after they were read the text of the amendment. To this, 69% of the respondents said yes. The question was specifically worded as follows:[57]
Constitutional Amendment #1 reads as follows: "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." If you voted today, would you vote yes or no on this constitutional amendment?[7]

—The Wickers Group, [58]

  • The private news service Missouri Scout had a poll conducted by Chilenski Strategies about possible 2014 issues in the state. Four hundred of the interviews were conducted through Interactive Voice Response telephone interviewing to landlines and another one hundred were conduced through interviewers calling cell phones. The interviews took place on January 30, 2014. The margin of error of the top-line responses in this survey was +/- 4.38%. The interview asked the following question regarding the right-to-farm legislation and received a 59.1% support response:
Would you support an amendment to the Missouri Constitution that protects the rights of Missouri citizens to farm or ranch without government interference?[7]

—Chilenski Strategies, [59]

Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Missouri Right-to-Farm, Amendment 1 (August 2014)
Poll Support OpposeDon't Know/No AnswerSample Size
The Wickers Group (TWG)
March 1-4, 2014
69%13%19%400
Chilenski Strategies
January 30, 2014
59.1%19.4%21.5%500
AVERAGES 64.05% 16.2% 20.25% 450
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

Path to the ballot


Missouri House of Representative, "MO House Sends Right to Farm Constitutional Amendment to the Voters," May 15, 2013
See also Amending the Missouri Constitution

Proposed constitutional amendments must be agreed to by a majority of the members of each chamber of the Missouri General Assembly to be placed on the ballot. House Joint Resolution was introduced on January 17, 2013. Both the Senate and House approved the measure on May 14, 2013. The House Speaker and President Pro Tem signed the legislation and it was delivered to the secretary of state on May 22, 2014.

In May 2014, Gov. Jay Nixon (D) chose to place this measure, along with four others, on the August 5 primary election ballot, instead of the November 4 general election ballot.[6]

House vote

May 14, 2014 House vote

Missouri HJR 11 House Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 132 84.08%
No2515.92%

Senate vote

May 14, 2014 Senate vote

Missouri HJR 11 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 27 79.41%
No720.59%

Related measures

Voting on
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By year
Not on ballot

See also

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Suggest a link

External links

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Additional reading

References

  1. Associated Press, "Missouri farming rights proposal appears to pass," August 6, 2014
  2. Associated Press, "Right to Farm opponents weigh recount option," August 6, 2014
  3. MyNWMO.com, "Lawmakers send 'right-to-farm' measure to 2014 ballot," May 15, 2013
  4. Open States, "Missouri 2013 Regular Session HJR 11," accessed May 26, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 St. Louis Beacon, "Proposed 'right to farm' constitutional amendment likely to end up in court," June 17, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 MissouriNet, "Senate sponsor OK with transportation tax on August ballot," May 26, 2014
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 7.19 7.20 7.21 7.22 7.23 7.24 7.25 7.26 7.27 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  8. Missouri Secretary of State, "2014 Ballot Measures," accessed July 26, 2013
  9. Missouri House of Representatives, "HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NOS. 11 & 7," accessed May 28, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Farm Foundation, "RIGHT-TO-FARM LAWS: HISTORY & FUTURE," accessed May 26, 2014
  11. American Farmland Trust, "Fact Sheet: Right-to-Farm Laws," 1998
  12. Miller, S. R. (2014). "Three Legal Approaches to Rural Economic Development." Kansas Journal of Law & Pubic Policy 23 (3), 345-361.
  13. MLive, "Change in rules for Michigan farm animals creates confusion for some farmers, satisfaction for others," April 29, 2014
  14. Congressional Research Service, "Agriculture: A Glossary of Terms, Programs, and Laws, 2005 Edition," June 16, 2005
  15. Missouri Revised Statues, "Chapter 537 Torts and Actions for Damages Section 537.295," accessed May 28, 2014
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Missouri Farmers Care, "Endorsements," accessed May 26, 2014
  17. 17.0 17.1 News Leader, "Farmers, lawmakers divided on 'Right to Farm'," June 30, 2014
  18. Associated Press, "Attorney General Koster backs Missouri right-to-farm amendment on August ballot," July 9, 2014
  19. Missouri Secretary of State, "Kander Statement on Proposed Constitutional Amendment 1," August 1, 2014. File:08-01-14 Kander Statement on Proposed Constitutional Amendment 1.pdf
  20. Drover's CattleNetowrk, "Right to farm clears hurdle, ready for November ballot," May 14, 2013
  21. Missouri Farmers Care, "Missouri Farming Rights Amendment," accessed May 26, 2014
  22. Missouri Farmers Care, "The Right to Farm Amendment – A perspective by attorney Brent Haden," October 23, 2013
  23. 23.0 23.1 League of Women Voters Voter Guide, "Constitutional Amendment 1," accessed July 21, 2014
  24. 24.0 24.1 Franklin County Democrats, "Primary Election Day, August 5th Ballot Measures," July 8, 2014
  25. MyNWMO.com, "Lawmakers send 'right-to-farm' measure to 2014 ballot," May 15, 2013
  26. 26.0 26.1 Missouri Ethics Commission, "Ballot Measures by Election Search," accessed August 1, 2014
  27. MASW, "MASW Calls for No Votes On Amendments 1, 5, and 7," accessed July 15, 2014
  28. No on Amendment 1, "Groups Opposed to Amendment 1," accessed July 30, 2014
  29. The Joplin Globe, "Neosho lawmaker stands by ballot proposal on farming," July 16, 2014
  30. 30.0 30.1 Constitution Party of Missouri, "Contact Us," accessed July 22, 2014
  31. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Missouri amendment could hurt family farms," February 3, 2014
  32. Quincy Journal, "Right to Farm in Missouri is seeing some backlash," accessed May 26, 2014
  33. Associated Press, "Opponents rally against Missouri 'right to farm'," June 20, 2014
  34. St. Louis Beacon, "Proposed 'right to farm' constitutional amendment likely to end up in court," June 17, 2013
  35. WCF Courier, "Questions about Missouri right to farm legislation," July 20, 2014
  36. Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, "Vote NO and Protect Missouri Family Farms," August 1, 2014
  37. The Joplin Globe, "Money clouds farm fight," July 26, 2014
  38. St. Louis Public Radio, "Is Missouri ballot measure boon for family farms or just big corporations?," July 17, 2014
  39. Margaret Koenig, "E-mail correspondence with Charla Lord," August 6, 2014]
  40. Associated Press, "Analysis: Timing of elections can have political, legal effects for Missouri ballot measures," July 6, 2014
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 The National Ag Law Center, "Governments and Unconstitutional Takings: When Do Right-To-Farm Laws Go Too Far?," May 2007
  42. Southeast Missourian, "Editorial: Our take on August ballot issues," July 27, 2014
  43. Sullivan Journal, "Say "No" to Amendment 7 and Amendment 1 Right To Farm," August 3, 2014
  44. Sedalia Democrat, "“No” on Amendment 1," August 1, 2014
  45. Kirksville Daily Express, "Our View: How we're voting in the primary," August 3, 2014
  46. The Missourian, "The Amendments," August 2, 2014
  47. West Plains Daily Quill, "Editorial:Right to Farm," July 25, 2014
  48. Springfield News-Leader, "Our Voice: Wrong way to protect farms," July 26, 2014
  49. News Tribune, "Our Opinion: Right to Farm amendment lacks substance," June 8, 2014
  50. The Ozarks Sentinel, "Why smart Missouri citizens need to defeat the Right To Farm scam," accessed July 24, 2014
  51. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Editorial: Right-to-farm amendment is a waste of time. Vote no.," June 16, 2014
  52. The Kansas City Star, "Vote ‘no’ on Missouri ‘right to farm’ amendment in August," June 23, 2014
  53. The Joplin Globe, "Our View: Who’s calling the shots?," July 8, 2014
  54. The Joplin Globe, "Our View: Vote no on Amendment 1," July 13, 2014
  55. Columbia Daily Tribune, "‘Right to farm’ What’s this all about?," July 15, 2014
  56. St. Louis American, "St. Louis American endorses Charlie Dooley for county executive, other election endorsements," July 31, 2014
  57. Missouri Liberty Project, "Missouri Liberty Project Spotlights Overwhelming Support for Constitutional Amendment," April 3, 2014
  58. Missouri Liberty Project, "New Poll Shows Nearly 70% Support for Right to Farm," accessed May 27, 2014
  59. Missouri Scout, "MOScout Poll on Issues," February 3, 2014