COLUMBIA, Mo. - The debate continued Thursday on whether or not voters should pass Amendment 1, otherwise known as, the "Right to Farm" amendment.
While its name seems self-explanatory, opponents and supporters disagree on whether or not the measure will actually benefit farmers. However, both sides agree voting their way will protect Missouri farmers.
The Missouri Rural Crisis Center and opponents held a news conference to voice their side Thursday afternoon at their office on Rangeline in Columbia.
Rhonda Perry and a handful of other local farmers explained how they do not need a constitutional amendment to give them a right they believe they have had for years.
Don Nikodim with Missouri Farmers Care disagreed, saying Amendment 1 will protect local farmers from out-of-state entities, including animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the United States.
"We firmly believe that Missourians should be making the decisions about how we farm and make our own decisions...Not the largest animal rights group in the U.S. like HSUS that has a track record of doing those kinds of things," Nikodim said.
However, Perry said those organizations rarely target local farmers. Instead, she said, it's the larger farming corporations that would ever need the amendment's protection. Corporations that Perry says now have the right to own land in Missouri as of last year.
"And, really (it) allows for multi-national and foreign, corporate interests to come into state and play a real role in agriculture," Perry said.
Nikodim agreed that the new law allows farmers of all sizes to produce as they wish but emphasized, no matter the size, all farmers must still adhere to federal regulations.
"Any constitutional amendment is particularly broad," Nikodim said. "Look at any of them. Take right to farm, or right to own guns, right to free speech. You can have limits to what you can say as a journalist. Well, we'll still have limits to what we can do in agriculture."
Both sides agree the actual definition of the amendment is broad and allows for a variety of legal outcomes.
For more information from both sides, click on the links below:
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