Democrat Koster Endorses ‘ Right to Farm’ Amendment Plan
July 10, 2014

Missouri Times via John Combest:
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Less than one week after a Republican lawmaker backed out of a scheduled debate on Missouri’s so-called Right to Farm amendment, Democrat Attorney General Chris Koster announced his support for the measure.

Chris Koster
Koster announced at the Missouri Farm Bureau headquarters that he supported Amendment 1, which will be appearing on the August 5 ballot. Supporters say the language protects Missouri’s largest industry – agriculture – by protecting it against future burdensome regulations. The ballot language reads:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed?

Koster announced his support at a political event today. A spokesperson for Missourians for Koster released a brief statement to The Missouri Times.

“The Right to Farm Amendment will ensure that agricultural production in Missouri is always economically competitive with other states across the country. This amendment ensures Missouri farming methods are not subject to extreme regulations that damage our state’s number one industry.”

Opponents of the language say it will actually give a blank check to pollute to small and large corporate farms alike and allow even the most minimal of regulations to be challenged in court.

Some groups on the left —the very base he’ll need to tap in a few years — immediately slammed Koster, who plans to run for Governor in 2016, for supporting Amendment 1. Former state lawmaker, Wes Shoemyer, is leading the charge against the proposed constitutional change. In a press release from Missouri’s Food for America, Shoemyer blasted Koster for inconsistency.

Nixon “Leans” Against ‘ Freedom to Farm’ Ballot Question
July 9, 2014

(AP)–Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday he is leaning toward opposing an August ballot measure that would insert a right to farm in the Missouri Constitution, ending his silence on the subject.
The farming amendment was referred to the ballot by Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature, with the support of some Democrats, and has been officially endorsed by the Missouri Republican State Committee.

The proposed amendment states that the right “to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state.”

Several Democratic officials also are supporting it, including Attorney General Chris Koster, who will hold an event today with the group campaigning for the measure.

But Nixon, a Democrat, has remained silent about the measure since he used his constitutional powers to shift the proposed Constitutional Amendment 1 from the November general election to the Aug. 5 primaries. Asked Tuesday about the measure, Nixon said he believes the state constitution already is pretty long.

“I always have a deferral position of unless I really, really am for it, then I’m not for amending the constitution,” Nixon said.

Asked whether that means he opposes the right-to-farm amendment, Nixon responded: “I certainly lean that way.”

Supporters hope amending the constitution could provide a legal shield against efforts by animal welfare groups to restrict particular farming methods or by organic food advocates to prohibit genetically modified crops.