Voters Side with Farmers

Farm Bureau-backed amendment providing farmers’ right to choose technology passes in Missouri.

On August 5, Missouri voters narrowly passed an amendment which asked voters, “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 difference in votes was just 2,500 votes, just 0.2% of the nearly 1 million votes cast. State law allows a recount if the margin of passage is below 0.5% but it must be requested by the losing side. A request cannot be made until the results of the primary election are certified which is expected by Aug. 26. The losing side then has seven days to request a recount.

Dan Kleinsorge, executive director of Missouri Farmers Care, said he’s confident the vote will stand as very few provisional ballots were cast and the others were done electronically.

Blake Hurst, Missouri Farm Bureau president, shared that the final analysis showed that Humane Society of the United States was the largest outside contributor to the campaign. Opponents had stirred the notion that those who supported the amendment were ‘tools of foreign corporate interests,” Hurst said.

 “We will, of course, have to see how a recount holds up, but whatever the outcome, we as farmers will continue to work to be worthy of the trust placed in us by Missourians by caring for our land, our animals, and our neighbors,” Hurst said.

However, Dan Murphy wrote in an article analyzing the aftermath of the vote that the final razor-thin outcome “handed over yet more ammo to corporate farming haters and widened an already contentious urban-rural divide in a state where agriculture plays a prominent role in the economy.”

Agriculture continues to find that calling out “overzealous environmentalists” may actually alienate many people who share the same views as them.

It will be important as these PR campaigns continue for farmers to look at framing the discussion in a way that reflects them in the proper light, rather than stooping to the levels of those in opposition with disseminating falsities.

Also during the week, the Massachusetts state legislature failed to act and essentially killed legislation backed by animal rights groups which would have prohibited hog farmers in the state from housing sows in gestation stalls.

This type of legislation would not be able to be pursued in Missouri if their newly passed amendment holds.

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