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Opponents rally against Missouri 'right to farm'

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 19, 2014 at 2:18 pm •  Published: June 19, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Opponents of a Missouri ballot measure that would create a "right to farm" asserted Thursday that the proposed constitutional amendment could make it harder to enforce environmental regulations against corporate farms.

More than 50 people representing a mixture of family farmers, animal welfare activists and environmentalists rallied at the Missouri Capitol in opposition to Constitutional Amendment 1 on the August ballot.

They held "Vote No on Amendment One" signs and distributed glossy fliers featuring close-up photos of a pig, puppy and vegetables. The fliers warned that the measure could open Missouri farmland to foreign corporations and limit regulations on polluters, "puppy mills" and genetically modified crops.

"I don't think people should call this the 'right to farm,'" said Carolyn Amparan, of Columbia, a member of the executive committee of the Missouri chapter of the Sierra Club. "It should be called the 'right to overturn Missouri laws' or 'the right to pollute.'"

The brief ballot measure asks voters whether the right "to engage in farming and ranching practices should be forever guaranteed in this state."

Opponents allege it is "purposely vague" and could crowd the courts with lawsuits from businesses or people seeking to avoid Missouri's regulations.

"It could make industrial agriculture production, whether domestic or foreign, virtually untouchable in any court of law," said Lowell Schachtsiek, a Palmyra farmer who is a founding member of the Missouri Farmers Union.

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