Amendment One has Missouri farmers fired up, but it could affect every person who relies on our local food supply. Supporters held a rally at a Springfield feed mill Wednesday, but opponents also attended.
Missouri's leading agriculture groups and the state's Attorney General say farmers need Amendment 1. "Ten years ago, farmers didn't think they needed such protection. Today they do. I understand why," says Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.
Koster cites examples like an attempt to take farm land for private development by eminent domain, and proposition B, which created a 50 dog limit for Missouri breeders.
"Consider how you'd feel if voters placed a limit on how successful you could be, on how many cattle you could run or what type of seed corn you could plant. All of a sudden, what seemed unthinkable in the state of Missouri had become the law of the land," says Koster.
Supporters want farmers to have protection from outside regulation. But opponents say giving one industry special protection could be dangerous.
Sheila Nichols of Missouri's Food for America coaliton opposes Amendment 1`. Nichols says, "No industry deserves constitutional protection. Our constitution is designed for our citizens, not for our corporations."
Opponents fear large corporations and foreign countries already farming in Missouri could take over. "We need to be concerned about the health of our citizens, our environment, our waterways, our rural communities and economies. We rely so much on tourism here, if these large hog cafos start spraying their manure on the fields with our karstopography, that's going down into our waterways. That's going to contaminate our wells, our streams, our rivers, our lakes," Nichols says.
While supporters say not protecting farmers could cause major harm to Missouri's economy. "In many ways, agriculture defines who we are. As one of Missouri's leading exports, it is how we dialogue with the international markets, and our state must always remain competitive in those global markets," says Koster.
Many believe the language in Amendment 1, which is only a couple sentences, is very vague. Read the proposed Amendment here.
It goes on the Missouri ballot August 5th.