Politicians Line Up on Opposite Sides of Amendment 1

By Alan Van Zandt | avanzandt@kq2.com

Published 07/10 2014 09:08PM

Updated 07/11 2014 01:03PM

(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) Farming is Missouri's largest industry, with more than 100,000 farms and 3,000 agribusinesses.

In August, the shape of the state's ag environment could change with a vote on Amendment 1 planned.

One month ahead of the election, they're lining up on both sides of the debate.

Current Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster supports the amendment.

"Passage of this amendment will continue to allow agriculture to be subject to reasonable regulation in the state. Future regulations must serve a state interest," he said in an appearance in Jefferson City.

But former Lieutenant Governor Joe Maxwell is against Amendment 1.

"I am a farmer," he said recently in Springfield. "I'm proud to be a 4th generation family farmer in Missouri. When you live on the farm or in the towns, this amendment is about extending large corporations, foreign corporations, the same rights and protections family farms already have."

Maxwell believes it is more about big business and foreign interests.

"Like China has over 50,000 acres in Missouri," he said.

A "yes" vote will amend the Missouri constitution to guarantee the rights of Missourians to engage in farming and ranching practices, subject to any power given to local government under Article VI of the state constitution.

A "no" vote would make no changes to the state constitution.

Koster points out that protections are needed from regulations similar to those in the past that he says have told farmers how to do their business.

A no vote would make no changes to the state constitution.

"I'd ask you to put yourselves in the shoes of an agricultural business owner in this state and consider how you would feel if voters placed a limit on how successful you could be, how many cattle you could run or in the type of seed corn you can plant," Koster said.

Several organizations and companies support the measure including the Missouri Farmers Care, Monsanto and the Missouri Farm Bureau.

On the other side, the Missouri Farmers Union, Missouri's Food for America and the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation have opposed it.

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