The Missouri State House of Representatives passed HJR 7 and 11, the constitutional right to farm today with an overwhelming 110 yes to 41 no vote. The legislation now goes to the State Senate for consideration. The legislation began as two separate bills – HJR 7 and HJR 11 but the bills were combined in committee. Rep. Jason Smith and Rep. Bill Reiboldt sponsored HJR 7 and HJR 11 respectively.
Leaders from both parties praised the passage of Right to Farm. Republican Speaker Tim Jones said “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 cosponsor HJR 7 and I look forward to voting for this amendment in the ballot box next year.” Democratic Rep. Ed Schieffer said “It was my privilege to co-sponsor HJR 7 & 11. These will protect the right to farm. My family has farmed 80 acres in Lincoln County for over 100 years. We must protect the right of continuing traditional agriculture.
Missouri Farmers Care testified in support of HJR 7&11 in committee and Missouri Farmers Care Chairman Don Nikodim said “This is a great step forward for Missouri agriculture. Agriculture is Missouri’s largest industry and we need the freedom to operate to continue providing jobs and food to our state.”
If passed by the Senate, HJR 7&11 would be referred to the voters as a ballot question in 2014. A similar constitutional amendment to protect farming and ranching practices, Measure 3, was adopted in North Dakota in 2012 with a 66.89% yes vote (http://results.sos.nd.gov/resultsSW.aspx?text=BQ&type=SW&map=CTY).