Opinion: Good Neighbor Values, by Joe Maxwell and Wes Shoemyer

Opinion: Good Neighbor Values


Joe Maxwell, Wes Shoemyer

April 9, 2019

Missouri Cattlemen’s Association clearly proves they lack basic Missouri values and have it all wrong in their “Flipping the Bird to Science” published on this page March 31, 2019.

What every Missourian should know about farmers in this state is there are two very diverse groups. They have polar opposite thoughts about what the face of farming should look like. Senate Bill 391 has nothing to do with science; it has to do with who will make decisions within your community and county.

The first group of Missouri farmers, for which Family Farm Action is proud to be apart, is made up of folks who believe it is their responsibility to be good stewards of what they have under their control. They respect their land, their animals, and their neighbors. They work to ensure the land and the water are in better condition than when they acquired it. They believe you should not have to cage an animal all its life merely to manage it. They understand their neighbors have property rights just like they do as a farmer. They understand that decisions about issues facing a community are best made within the community.

The second group of farmers include folks like the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association. They believe that they have the right to do whatever they want in the name of industrial agriculture: abuse the land, the drinking water, the animals, and their neighbors. They believe their rights are supreme to that of their neighbors. And when rural residents and fellow farmers like those in Callaway County or Lone Jack, Missouri stand up for their rights, The Missouri Cattleman’s and their friends in the legislature attack those rights.

SB 391 strips local communities and counties of the ability to balance the interests of industrial agriculture to construct facilities housing thousands of animals and the rights of local citizens. SB 391 strips local control and gives all the power to the state.

SB 391 flies in the face of the values Family Farm Action believes is central to our way of life. We believe the overwhelming majority of Missourians agree with us.

We call on every farmer, rancher, and citizen to come together around the values of being a good neighbor and help stop SB 391. The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association says Missouri Rural Crisis Center is working to pit farmer against farmer, well they are not, and neither are we. But we will not give up our good neighbor values for a seat at their table. We stand with the Missouri Rural Crisis Center; we hope you will too in stopping SB 391.

Joe Maxwell is the Family Farm Action president and former lieutenant governor. Wes Shoemyer is a Family Farm Action Board member and former state senator.