Missouri voters on Tuesday narrowly approved amendment 1 on the state's ballot, a "right to farm" provision that will protect farmers and ranchers from future state laws that could change current allowed farming practices.
With all precincts reporting, according to the Missouri Secretary of State, 498,751 "yes" votes were cast and 496,223 were cast in opposition, bringing the tally to 50.127% for and 49.873% against.
Despite the narrow margin, according to Missouri Cattlemen's Association President Jim McCann, the passage of this amendment is welcomed for Missouri family farms and ranches.
"This amendment will allow not only today's farmers and ranchers the 'green light' to farm, but tomorrow's generation as well," said McCann. "Amendment 1 will help protect Missouri Agriculture, which generates more than $12 billion dollars and thousands of jobs within our state."
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Those in support of amendment 1 said the language would protect the state's farmers from outside interests that may attempt to influence agricultural practices.
Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder noted that concern in his statement of support as provided by the Missouri Farm Bureau: "The Right to Farm Amendment will benefit all farms, especially smaller, family operations, which increasingly face threats to their way of life from ballot initiatives brought by fringe animal rights groups from outside Missouri," he said.
Groups opposed to the amendment, like the Humane Society of the United States' Missouri affiliate, said it allows "big agribusiness" to write its own rules with no oversight, and "foreign corporations will have absolute authority over Missourians’ farm land and any animals on it indefinitely."
The group also suggested that it could create more confusion about what is and is not covered under the amendment, resulting in litigation over allowed farming practices.