‘Right to Farm’ amendment narrowly passes, may face recount

Missouri voters approved Amendment 1, the so-called “Right to Farm” amendment, with 50.1 percent of voters backing it. Now, the measure will face a recount.

The amendment, which calls for the state constitution to protect the “right to farm and ranch,” is subject to a recount because the final margin of victory was less than 1 percent, according to state election statutes.

Blake Hurst, the president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, said if the result stands it’s a triumph for farmers in the state.

“This was a tremendous victory for tens of thousands of Missouri farmers that have worked to pass it,” he said.

Supporters of the amendment spent more than twice as much as the opponents of the amendment and drew support from major agribusiness companies in the state.

Opponents said they were worried the amendment would open the door to corporate entities controlling farming in the state.

Jake Davis, owner of the Root Cellar in Columbia and an owner of his family farm Nature Fresh Farms, was out Tuesday speaking with voters at the polls about opposing the amendment. Davis was concerned about providing protection to agribusiness interests in the constitution through the use of what he considered to be vague language.

“I think the farm amendment was vague – it was misleading or unclear to people,” Boone County resident Diana Nichols said at the polls.

Another voter, Michele Keith, echoed the Farm Bureau’s sentiment. “It’s going to protect your average person­­ — they want to take control of their own produce,” Keith said. “My family grew up, and they had big gardens — that’s just part of my life.”

Michele’s husband, Dustin, also an ardent supporter of the amendment, believes it would protect farms from federal impact and would prevent federal laws from having sway in Missouri.

The Farm Bureau’s Hurst stressed the importance of continuing to spread the message. “We’ll make sure the results stand up and keep talking to people about the importance of farming,” he said.

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