Missouri votes on state constitutional amendment for "right to farm"

[JURIST] Voters on Tuesday voted on a statewide referendum in Missouri to decide an amendment [text; PDF] to the state constitution that would provide a "right to farm." If enacted, Amendment 1 will guarantee the rights of Missourians to "engage in farming and ranching practices," potentially invalidating local and state laws to restrict or regulate agriculture. Both the Senate and House [official websites] approved the measure in May last year. Since the amendment was first proposed last year by a Republican state legislator, it has been controversial. Supporters argue that the amendment would protect in-state farmers from out of state interference, while opponents argue that it will provide industrial "factory farms" with a screen against consumer concerns. Experts are still unsure of the potential economic, environmental and legal consequences if the amendment passes.

Recent legal issues surrounding the agricultural industry in the US continue to raise controversy. US President Barack Obama [official website] signed [JURIST report] a new farm bill into law in February, providing expanded crop insurance and other benefits for the agricultural sector. In June 2013 the US Supreme Court [official website] ruled unanimously [JURIST report] that the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] had jurisdiction to review takings claims by a California raisin grower that faced fines after refusing to turn over their crops. The Supreme Court also ruled unanimously [JURIST report] in favor of Monsanto [corporate website] in a seed patent dispute in May 2013.

 

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