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Family Farm Legislative Update:
Local Control Wins, Property Rights Lose

Family Farmers Stop Anti-Local Control Bill.
Governor Signs Pro-Corporate,
Anti-Property Rights Legislation

by Tim Gibbons

Columbia, Missouri

Family farmers and rural citizens made thousands of phone calls, sent emails and held numerous meetings with elected representatives to voice their concerns regarding anti-family farm, pro-factory farm legislation moving through the legislative process.

Attempts to limit local control, through both a constitutional amendment and statutory bills, were killed during the final week of the legislative session. The vaguely worded, so-called "Right to Raise Animals" could have had broad and dangerous consequences on local control and the General Assembly’s ability to protect Missouri citizens, family farmers and rural landowners from the negative impacts of corporate agri-business and their factory farms. Moreover, House Joint Resolution 3 (HJR 3), a proposed constitutional amendment, would have cemented that language into our state constitution. Defeating these bills is an important victory for Missouri’s independent livestock producers, their communities and the preservation of local control.

"Local control is a farm and rural value for Missourians," said Cindy Whitlock, a livestock farmer from Schuyler County, Missouri. "Once again, family farmers and rural citizens from all across the state organized the necessary opposition to fight and win against these dangerous attempts to limit local democracy.”

However, on the issue of property rights, the legislature and Governor Nixon ignored the massive opposition by family farmers and rural property owners. On Tuesday, May 11th, the Governor signed pro-corporate, anti-property rights legislation that significantly limits the rights of family farmers and rural landowners to protect their property through the courts from the potential negative impacts of out-of-state, multi-national corporate factory farms. Senate Bill 187, The CAFO Protection Act sponsored by Senator Lager, deceitfully hid behind the majority of Missouri's independent family farms to protect a small minority of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). As a result, the majority of farmers and landowners will be left without adequate protection from the potential negative impacts of CAFOs.

"It is important that elected representatives understood the importance of local control,” said Tim Gibbons, Missouri Rural Crisis Center. “However, the legislature and our Governor clearly do not understand the importance of Missourians’ property rights and farmers’ and landowners’ ability to protect their property from the intrusion of out-of-state, corporate controlled CAFOs.”

Published in In Motion Magazine May 15, 2010.

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