“This is our constitution, corporations stay out!” – Lt. Governor Joe Maxwell
For Immediate Release:
During their August 5th primary election, in addition to selecting candidates for the November election, Missouri voters will decide whether or not the so called right to farm and ranch shall be inserted into their state constitution. OCM urges Missourians to vote no on Amendment One.
OCM is distressed by such narrowly defined and clearly corporate friendly language being inserted into the very heart of state law. Amendment One clearly lacks language friendly to family farms, organic farms, small livestock farms, or any other farm that does not hew to the corporate road. Amendment One in fact lacks any real definition of its true intent so that ultimately, courts will decide what rights Amendment One grants, and to whom.
In a recent ruling by the US Supreme Court, under Amendment 14 to the US Constitution, a corporation is a “person”. Cold blooded corporations now have many of the same rights as human beings. This gives corporations which are really nothing more than clones constructed from legal filings, the right to do virtually anything they want by hiding behind those rights originally bequeathed to human beings.
Corporations do not populate rural communities. Corporations do not have families. Corporations have no conscience. Many of them avoid paying taxes by sheltering profits offshore. Allowing even more corporate dominance of our food and agriculture is certainly not the salvation of family farms.
But Amendment One has been portrayed as something that will protect independent family farmers and our strong agricultural heritage in Missouri. In fact, there is nothing in the single sentence Amendment One ballot question or the amendment itself that mentions or even implies any support for family farming. There are no definitions, no instructions, no indications of intent to guide judges when they interpret Amendment One as they most surely will be asked to do. Amendment One leaves the Missouri constitution and individual rights wide open to legal challenges by attorneys representing huge wealthy corporations.
Amendment One won’t help beginning farmers obtain operating loans or gain access to land. It won’t make livestock markets more fair, or diversify grain markets. It does nothing to stem unfair foreign competition and the ongoing decline of family farm numbers and beef herds in Missouri. It is a hollow shell waiting to be filled with corporate privilege like nothing seen before.
In recent sessions the Missouri General Assembly has increased the amount of Missouri farmland foreign corporations can own, like the Chinese owned corporation Smithfield Farms. They have made it harder for people–real Missouri citizens, many of them farmers–to practice local control, protect themselves from corporate pollution and gain better access to clean water and air. Amendment One would do nothing to rectify those infringements.
In reality, Amendment One would guarantee biggest of the big companies the right to dominate ever more of Missouri’s most productive rural landscape, exercising even more control over agriculture and one of our most basic human rights; transparent access to a fairly priced, wholesome, and healthy food supply.
while advancing the interests of American consumers!