The Missouri State House of Representatives passed HJRs 7 & 11, the constitutional Right-to-Farm amendment late last week, with 110 “yes” votes vs. 41 “no” votes. The legislation now moves to the Missouri Senate for consideration. If passed by the Senate, HJR 7 & 11 would be referred to Missouri voters as a ballot question in 2014.

The legislation began as two separate bills, HJR7 and HJR 11, sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith (R-Salem, MO) and Rep. Bill Reiboldt, (R-Neosho, MO), respectively. The bills were combined in committee.

Smith says the proposed constitutional amendment will help protect the state’s $11 billion/year agriculture industry from attacks made by out-of-state special interest groups. “Specifically, it creates a constitutional right for farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices,” he says. “HFRs 11 and 7 are also relevant to Missourians who have no direct connection to farming. We should not overlook the fact that farmers provide the food we feed to our families and the many value-added products we use in our daily lives,” he adds.

Leaders from both political parties praised the passage of the Right-to-Farm legislation. Republican House Speaker Tim Jones, Eureka, MO, says, “The economy is still lagging and we need to ensure that agriculture, our state’s number one industry, is protected from outside attacks. I understand how important this industry is to our state and to all citizens that benefit from Missouri’s food production. I was proud to co-sponsor HJR7 and I look forward to voting for this amendment in the ballot box next year.”

Democratic Rep. Ed Schieffer, Troy, MO, a co-sponsor of the bill, emphasizes the importance of protecting the right to farm in Missouri. “My family has farmed 80 acres in Lincoln County for over 100 years. We must protect the right of continuing traditional agriculture,” he states.

Missouri Farmers Care testified in support of HJR 7& 11 during the committee process. “This is a great step forward for Missouri agriculture,” says Missouri Farmers Care Chairman Don Nikodim. “Agriculture is Missouri’s largest industry and we need the freedom to operate to continue providing jobs and food to our state.”

Missouri Farmers Care is now urging citizens to contact their state senators to express support for the proposed amendment.

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