Farmers take sides on 'right to farm' amendment - KCTV5

Farmers take sides on 'right to farm' amendment

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MISSOURI (KCTV) -

Many have seen the advertisements both for and against what's being called the "right to farm" amendment in Missouri.

Amendment 1 on the ballot would guarantee farmers and ranchers the right to engage in their livelihoods and farmers have lined up on both sides of the issue.

Specifically it will ask voters to guarantee that "the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed."

It's a tale of two farmers. On one side is Brad Bray who fears that out-of-state lobbyist groups are attacking Missouri agriculture. He says Missouri needs to pass an amendment guaranteeing a right to farm.

"My fear is that if this does not pass we'll see an onslaught of ballot initiatives trying to regulate how we farm and the way we do things," said Bray, who supports Amendment 1.

Not all farmers believe such an amendment would help producers. Richard Oswald leads a group that opposes the right to farm because he believes the amendment would deregulate large-scale farming and livestock operations.

"It's going to support a lot more corporate farms, probably than it would ever provide to family farms," Oswald said, who opposes Amendment 1.

The ballot language doesn't specify what rights farmers would have or what types of regulations would infringe on those rights. Some farmers worry the wording on the amendment is too vague and that courts would end up deciding more agricultural disputes.

"It's mandatory that courts interpret it because it's uninterpretable the way it is," Oswald said.

But Bray said farmers would still have to follow state and federal rules.

"If we're going to have discussions about farmer practices in the state of Missouri, it needs to be farmer-driven and consumer-driven," he said.

Both sides agree that voters should think about rural communities when they head to the polls on Tuesday.

"Rural communities are really the core of our state. That's what holds everything together," Oswald said.

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