Right to Farm

Constitutional Amendment 1

Title: Missouri Right-To-Farm

What It Is:

A constitutional amendment that would protect the right to farm by making it harder to file nuisance suits against farmers. Upon passage this August, the measure would add a section 35 to Article I of the Missouri Constitution.

General Assembly Vote:

Senate: 27-7 (79% Yes & 21% No)
House: 132-25 (84% Yes & 16% No)

Pro Arguments:

Right-to-farm laws are designed to defend farmers against nuisance suits (suing farmers for aspects of agriculture that are unavoidable such as odors, flies, dust, noise from field work, spraying of farm chemicals and slow moving farm machinery). As animal rights and environmentalist groups from outside of the state attempt to reform Missouri, the measure may be needed to ensure that farmers will be able “to engage in standard farming and ranching practices.” According to State Representative Jason Smith, “These groups have tried to launch offensives against farm families here and in many other states around the country. Their efforts have prompted states like North Dakota, Oklahoma and Indiana to take action to protect their agriculture industries. It is time for Missouri to do the same.”

In conjunction with Missouri Farmers Care, attorney Brent Haden released an article which asserted that the measure would make it harder for people without farming backgrounds to pass “burdensome and expensive regulations” which make farming and ranching less profitable, endanger the food supply, and increase food prices.

Every state has some kind of right-to-farm legislation.

The bill received bipartisan support.

Primary Supporters:

  • Missouri Farm Bureau has formed a committee in support of the measure named Missouri Farm Bureau's Fund To Protect Farming & Ranching.
  • Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and other large agricultural companies such as Cargill and Monsanto
  • Rep. Bill Reiboldt (R-160) – Sponsor
  • U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-4)
  • Majority Floor Leader Rep. John Diehl (R-89)
  • Speaker of the House Tim Jones (R-110)

Con Arguments:

Senator Rob Schaaf says that farm animals are being fed antibiotics which are incubating a new wave of food poisoning "super bugs."

Richard R. Oswald, president of the Missouri Farmers Union, has vocally opposed the measure, saying that its vague wording will benefit mega-farms at the expense of small family farms.