Christian County Headliner News: “OUR VIEW: Voters should say no to Amendment 1” — Big Ag is adept at convincing voters to bet against their own best interests.

OUR VIEW: Voters should say no to Amendment 1

Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2014

By: Headliner editorial staff

It’s the Right to Farm legislation introduced by Bill Reiboldt from Neosho. He said he was surprised by the controversy of what he called just a “thumbs up” to farmers.

We’re ready to give a thumbs up to farmers — real farmers, who work the land, raise crops and healthy livestock and remain good stewards of the environment.

We’re not ready to give carte blanche to just anything labeled agriculture in the form of constitutional protections.

Regardless of the proponents who say this amendment will protect Missouri’s agriculture industry, there is no evidence that Missouri’s agriculture industry is threatened.

Lobbyists for entities with deep pockets are adept in fashioning legislation and mounting public relations campaigns that convince voters to bet against their own best interests. This is one of those measures.

Everyone in Missouri or the United States has the right to farm. There’s no need to amend the Missouri Constitution to give farmers a thumbs up. But what it could do is give big corporate agriculture an even bigger advantage over family farms.

Family farms in Missouri have dwindled during the last 50 years, and it isn’t because government trampled a farmer’s rights. It’s more like big corporations, who call the shots, trampled the small farmer’s rights.

Concentrated animal feeding operations are an unnatural way to get meat to the table, albeit an efficient and cheap way. Genetically modified crops are also an unnatural way to produce grain and resist pests. While these advanced technologies hold promise in feeding an overpopulated planet, unfettered use of these methods in food production also holds special hazards.

A couple of huge corporations holding all the patents on the seeds that grow crops sounds hazardous to us.

The plant that kills the insects that bites it also kills the bee that may pollinate fruits and vegetables that are not yet patented.

Cattle, pigs and chicken fed unnatural diets of hormones and antibiotics to attain maximum weight and resist the germs from their unhealthy environment are linked to antibiotic resistance in humans.

All of these issues are driving the consumer trend to local farms and small growers.

The many implications of modern agriculture and advanced technologies in food production are not yet fully understood. There must be some common sense used when addressing these issues.

The Humane Society of the United States, the Sierra Club and the Environmental Protection Agency are not the enemy of those who employ humane and environmentally sustainable agriculture.

They may be the enemy of bad actors who would maim animals and destroy the land in the name of profits.

Let’s be clear: This amendment holds no public value but great potential for public harm. Vote no on Amendment 1.