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The Lake News Online
  • Lake view: Right to farm, right to pollute

  • Hiding behind the innocent-sounding title "Right to Farm" of Constitutional Amendment No. 1, which voters will consider in the upcoming Aug. 5 election, is an agenda sponsored by corporate-industrial agriculture interests that could have serious consequences for residents and visitors to Lake of the Ozarks.
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  • Hiding behind the innocent-sounding title "Right to Farm" of Constitutional Amendment No. 1, which voters will consider in the upcoming Aug. 5 election, is an agenda sponsored by corporate-industrial agriculture interests that could have serious consequences for residents and visitors to Lake of the Ozarks.
    John Ikerd, professor emeritus of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Missouri, points this out in his article "Ten Reasons to Vote Against Right to Farm" which appeared in the July 6 issue of the Columbia Daily Tribune.
    Most directly concerning Lake of the Ozarks is professor Ikerd's reason number 4:
    "Foreign corporations — including the largest pork, beef, and poultry processors in the United States — would be given special exemptions from Clean Water and Clean Air acts, Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and legitimate lawsuits — rights that ordinary Americans don't have."
    What he's saying is that if Constitutional Amendment No. 1 is approved, local and state government in Missouri will not have the ability to regulate agricultural practices such as confined animal feeding operations, commonly known as CAFOs — industrial-scale cattle feed lots, hog barns and poultry houses. If you've ever been near one of these operations, then you have some idea of the environmental degradation they cause. Imagine having them unregulated in the hills and fields around Lake of the Ozarks, where the economic welfare of our residents and businesses is dependent upon having the clean water and clean air that visitors come here to enjoy.   
    Constitution Amendment No. 1 originated in the state House of Representatives at the urging of Missouri Farmers Care, a coalition whose corporate membership includes Monsanto, Cargill, the Missouri Farm Bureau and other industrial agricultural organizations. The initial proposal considered by the House would have forbidden (forever) any initiative petitions that sought to regulate farming practices in Missouri, a bold and sinister attempt to strip Missouri citizens of the right to regulate practices that affect their welfare and safety. The House approved such a proposal; modifying changes came in the Senate, yet we are being asked to approve a constitutional amendment that has the potential to cause great harm to our environment.
    It makes sense to vote "No" to Amendment No. 1 on Aug. 5.

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