You’re familiar with the classic situation of somebody who gets hoodwinked because they didn’t read the small print. Well, it looks like we’ve got some purveyers of very, very small print (so small that it’s not even there) here in Missouri. These are the folks who devised and are promoting the proposed Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1 (House Joint Resolution Nos. 11 & 7). This is the August 5 ballot language that voters will see:
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.
However, the Linn County Reader informs us that :
… although the official ballot language voters will see when they go to the polls next month gives no indication of this, the Fair Ballot Language that voters won’t see when they go to the polls on Aug. 5 states, “A ‘yes’ vote will amend the Missouri Constitution…subject to any power given to local government under Article VI of the Missouri Constitution.” Instead, the voters will see official ballot language that reveals nothing about the impact of Amendment One on the ability of local government to regulate CAFOs.[…] If Constitutional Amendment One passes, you will be left without any ability to provide reasonable health and welfare safeguards for neighbors living in the rural areas of your county.”
If you doubt that all is not what it seems, note that Missouri GOP Senator Roy Blunt, a.k.a. Monsanto’s man in Washington, came out recently for the Amendment, dubbed yet another “Montsanto Protection Act” by one writer who is concerned about the proliferation of genetically modified foods and the dominance of the biotech sector in agriculture. Blunt straightaway set about trying to assuage fears that rather than protecting the “family farms” that supporters are piously evoking in their pro-Amendment 1 TV ads, the bill is intended to protect powerful corporate factory farms whose questionable agricultural practices might be vulnerable to regulation and so-called “nuisance” suits that threaten the bottom-line for the Blunt-friendly big-guys.
The fact that Blunt is the latest pro-Amendent 1 batter up speaks for itself, as does the likely source of the amendment:
A year ago, the North Dakota [right to farm] measure was a topic for discussion as legislative agriculture chairmen from across the U.S. gathered for a conference in Vancouver, Canada. The event by the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Association was financed by dozens of agriculture businesses, including Archer Daniels Midland Co., Cargill, DuPont Pioneer, Deere & Co. and Tyson Foods. Among those present was Missouri Rep. Bill Reiboldt, a farmer who sponsored the right-to-farm amendment referred to this year’s ballot by the Republican-led state Legislature.
If you’re interested in why one would oppose what seems on the surface to be an almost meaningless reiteration of support for farming, this video of former Missouri Lt. Governor Joe Maxwell speaking against the bill spells out the ways that Amendment 1 not only threatens the family farm, but the safety of our food supply:
Among other points Maxwell makes, he suggests that Amendent 1 could result in weakening the protections for the family farmer that were spelled out in the 1975 Family Farm Act. As he noted elsewhere:
This amendment is about ensuring the largest multi-national corporation constitutional rights here in Missouri so they can do whatever THEY want to us neighbors out in the country. […]. What other industry has constitutional protections to do whatever they want and strips the local voice, either at the local level, the county level or even at the statehouse from being able to put in safeguards for neighbors out in the country?
Not only will supporters of this stealth legislation not answer these questions, they would prefer that you not even realize that anyone is asking.