To The Herald-Whig:
This letter is in response to Ralph Griesbaum's letter concerning Missouri Amendment 1, or the right to farm amendment.
This amendment is so vague that anything could happen in the state of Missouri.
Foreign corporations would have the right to own Missouri farmland without limits from our elected legislators. Factory farms would have no accountability at the expense of family farmers and our rural communities.
The future of food and farming could be determined by corporate lawyers. Rural communities may not be able to protect themselves from excessive and irresponsible farming by the corporate agribusinesses that protest that they are family farms. We would not be able to defend our property against corporate agribusiness.
This amendment is so vaguely written that the big boys of agriculture could do virtually whatever they want.
The state constitution already guarantees our farmers the right to farm. Scare tactics, such as naming this amendment Right to Farm, have pushed this amendment into the limelight. Please take time to read it. Then, see if you can imagine the liberties granted or lost and the loss of local control this amendment would grant.
We have seen what corporate farming has done to the small farmer. Is Missouri to become another Illinois, where farming is considered big business by the state and, therefore, the corporate farms/factories have the backing of the legislature to pollute the Illinois countryside?
According to a former state legislator, Wes Shoemyer, "Whenever we see this type of constitutional amendment, it will actually take away folks' rights to redress if there are some very egregious nuisance or environmental issues that might arise in the future." He also said: "You see the groups that are supporting it to be Monsanto, Cargill ..."
Think about the right to protect your farms from GMO crops. Do you want to farm organic? All local control (towns, townships, counties) would be lost. (That lovely park just outside of town could be next to a large mega-hog confinement or a landfill.)
You, the farmer, would have no redress in the courts if this amendment does pass. We, as Missourians, would lose the ability to litigate against these large corporations from out of state.
Think about these facts as you talk to your neighbors and friends about the Right to Farm.
Vote "no" on this amendment.