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The ‘Right to Farm’

Author: Kristy

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In November of 2016, Oklahomans will be faced with a very critical vote that will make a huge impact for farmers. The ‘Right to Farm’ or “SQ 777” act will be voted on during the Presidential elections. This amendment, if passed, will let farmers and ranchers be given a constitutional right to farm.

According to Oklahoma Farm Bureau Director of National Affairs LeAnna McNally, “The base of this is really about consumer choice and farmers and ranchers being able to produce a safe and affordable food supply in the future. All types of farmers and ranchers should be able to produce a safe and affordable food supply with a variety of products, whatever they want to grow.”

A similar piece of legislation included issues a few years ago, that allowed and hunting and fishing to be a constitutional right. The ‘Right to Farm,’ was brought to Oklahoma’s attention by Representative Scott Biggs and State Senator Jason Smalley. Mcnally said, “The legislation passed overwhelmingly with support by the House and Senate.”

If Oklahoma passes this amendment, they will join a long list of states that have done the same. Missouri and North Dakota have also passed this law. The amendment has taken three years to get passed to create, and then to get passed by the House and Senate.

The ‘Right to Farm’ amendment, has so far, received great support from many farmers and ranchers in the State of Oklahoma, including both rural and urban areas. Oklahoma Farm Bureau Foundation will be speaking at meetings all over the state to explain what the ‘Right to Farm’ does, and why the Oklahoma Farm Bureau believes that the legislation is needed.

The breakdown of this amendment is to allow the farmers and ranchers of Oklahoma to decide how they want their farm to run, without the government stepping in and making changes. Allowing farmers and ranchers the chance to dictate how they run their own farm.

This amendment is not an issue of water use and regulation. This amendment will also help those who have concerns of what goes into our food. “This will protect consumers as they stand the most to gain from a safe, secure, and affordable food supply,” says Tom Buchanan.

According to oklahomarighttofarm.com, “Oklahoma has 80,000 farms and ranches. 98% is family owned and operated. These 80,000 people are responsible for helping feed nearly 4 million people in Oklahoma and hundreds of millions across the nation and globe. As a job that gets harder every day, a smaller percentage of farmers are sticking around. They are being forced to produce more food on less land, using fewer resources. Constant interference from government bureaucrats and anti-agriculture activists drive farms out of business and severely limit the productivity of others.”

According to Representative Scott Biggs, “This is a better way to go in preventing outside interest groups from coming to Oklahoma and telling producers how to farm and ranch. This amendment offers permanent protection in the Constitution of farming and ranching for future generations.”

“If you put it in the Constitution, it makes it more permanent. The Constitution then trumps future statutes, it’s just a better way to safe guard and ensures farming and ranching is protected.”

This amendment goes beyond just food and fiber. Oklahoma’s farmers contribute $8 billion to the state’s economy and support tens of thousands of jobs. Some of the major agriculture businesses are campaigning to bring this amendment into effect. Oklahoma Pork Council, American Farmers and Ranchers, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, The Poultry Federation, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, and the Oklahoma Cotton Council are strong supporters.

So far, PETA, Sierra Club, Humane Society of America, and a few others are firmly against it. These organizations are well known for being anti-agriculture activists.

With Oklahoma being full of people that work with and in the agriculture industry, this vote is really going to matter.

Breanna Viles / Delaware County Journal

In November of 2016, Oklahomans will be faced with a very critical vote that will make a huge impact for farmers. The ‘Right to Farm’ or “SQ 777” act will be voted on during the Presidential elections.

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