Constitutional Amendment 1: Protects Corporate and Foreign-Owned Ag

am1You’ve probably seen the signs along rural highways and farm related service businesses. They read “Keep Missouri Farming Yes on 1”, while on the surface that sounds like a good idea further research suggests that you might want to vote “no”.

According to ballotpedia.org:

“The Missouri Farmers Union has argued against Amendment 1 because they believe it will provide protections for large agribusiness corporations, saying, “Now that a company based in the Peoples Republic of China owns Smithfield Foods, the General Assembly is at it again by enshrining them in the sacred Constitution.” In an editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, president of the Missouri Farmers Union, Richard R. Oswald, argued that much of recent Missouri legislation that claims to protect farmers has actually benefited corporations to the detriment of small farmers. He said of the amendment,

Supposedly designed to assure the right to farm for Missouri citizens, its vague wording is bound to favor corporations, even Chinese corporations, over Missouri family farms. That’s because Supreme Court rulings that a corporation is a person play into the hands of Amendment 1 supporters of corporate food control.

Amendment 1 in Missouri could grant even the worst corporations the right to do whatever they want when they claim to be “farmer” or “rancher.”

Some say we can never return to the days when family farms produced the bulk of what we eat. That will be true so long as Missourians continue to elect those who favor the politics of big food. Missouri voters can reverse that trend. It’s time they did.[4]

—Richard R. Oswald, [19]

Shuanghui International, buyer of U.S.-based Smithfield Foods, changes name to WH Group-photo couresy of www.farmprogress.com

Shuanghui International, buyer of U.S.-based Smithfield Foods, changes name to WH Group-photo couresy of http://www.farmprogress.com

On January 21, 2014, Missouri’s Food For America gathered at the state capitol to argue against the amendment. The group is led by Monroe County farmer and former state legislator Wes Shoemyer. Shoemyer argued that the constitutional status of the measure would allow it to override all other state statutes dealing with agriculture. He said, “Whenever we see this type of constitutional amendment, it will actually take away folks right for redress if there are some very egregious nuisance of environmental issues that might arise in the future.” For example, a farmer who wants to farm either organic or non-genetically modified organism (GMO) crops would have no redress if their crops are contaminated by GMO crops. He argued that the amendment would not protect farmers, but instead, agribusiness corporations like Monsanto and Cargill.[20]”

In an editorial which appeared in the Springfield News-Leader on July 9 , Darvin Bentlage warns that if the Missouri Constitution is amended , “authorized authorities” would determine just who is and isn’t a farmer or rancher.  Bentlage writes:

Today, farmers are sued by Monsanto. The WH Group from China owns 50,000 acres of Missouri farmland and produces one of every four pork chops eaten in the United States. Brazilian-owned JBS works to control our beef, pork and poultry industries. Politicians took away the value in our right to enjoy our home and farm when intruded upon by an industrialized factory farm. Rural citizens were left with no recourse against their pollution….

People will always need something to eat, and that will come from farming. Amendment 1 puts the decision of how we handle food safety, local control issues and environmental regulations up to “duly authorized power, if any.” Everything about agriculture will have to be dragged, at taxpayer expense, through an already overburdened court to decide who that is. Amendment 1’s language is so vague and broad “Right to Farm” will turn farming into a legal factory.

Amendment 1 will not give farmers protection from Monsanto lawsuits; nor will it stop foreign-owned corporations from controlling Missouri Agriculture; nor will it protect farmers from restrictions put on us by ag corporations. Vertical integration and consolidation in the livestock production will drive the price up for the consumer and down for the farmer.

It would appear that amending the Missouri constitution would actually harm Missouri’s family farms but benefit corporate and foreign-owned agriculture. Do you really want “authorized authorities” to determine just who and who isn’t a farmer? Do you think the communist Chinese should even own land in Missouri, much less get unfair advantages that family farms don’t? Do you think Monsanto ( which has a history of suing family farmers) should be protected?

If your answer to these questions is no then vote no on the amendment Editor

About aldermanlacy

I am just an average blue collar American who works hard and tries to be a good dad. I have a passion for history, music and freedom.

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