Support grows for right-to-farm

Voters in Oklahoma will have the opportunity this November to approve or disapprove amending the state’s Constitution to include a Right-to-Farm amendment.

The ballot initiative, known as SQ (State Question) 777, is in response to mounting pressure by interest groups, many of them from outside of Oklahoma, to restrict the use of animals and curtail other traditional agricultural practices on the state’s farms and ranches. State Rep. Scott Biggs, a Republican, told oklahomafarmreport.com that the amendment “will keep outside interest groups from coming to Oklahoma and telling us how to farm and ranch.”

If approved by the voters, the state’s Constitution will be amended to read:

The legislature shall pass no law which abridges the right of citizens and lawful residents of Oklahoma to employ agricultural technology and livestock production and ranching practices without a compelling state interest.

SQ 777 does not apply to and does not affect state laws related to trespass, eminent domain, mineral rights, easements, right of way or other property rights, and any state statutes or political subdivision ordinances enacted before December 31, 2014.

The measure is supported by a host of groups, including the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, Oklahoma Pork Council, Oklahoma Cotton Council, American Farmers & Ranchers, Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association, The Poultry Federation, Oklahoma Agricultural Cooperative Council, Oklahoma Sorghum Association, and Oklahoma Agri-Women.

Stewardship of Land by Farmers and Ranchers

“Oklahoma farmers and ranchers work hard raising wholesome and high-quality food,” said Michael Kelsey, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association. “State Question 777 gives assurance that they can continue their stewardship of the land, animals, crops and ultimately all of us as consumers.”

Mark Yates, director of field operations for the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, accused those opposing the Right-to-Farm amendment of using pretexts to cover their real agenda. “The opposition is making this about water, and it has nothing to do with water… They are also the ones putting the billboards up in Tulsa and Oklahoma City (saying the same thing)…”

Anti-SQ 777 billboards have in fact sprung up in and around the state’s two largest cities. Opponents of SQ 777 are focusing on what they say are the threats modern agriculture poses to bodies of water as well as animals. Those groups include the Sierra Club, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Oklahoma Coalition of Animal Rescuers, Oklahoma Municipal League, Save the Illinois River, Oklahoma Stewardship Council, and the Conservation Council of Oklahoma. They urge voters to vote “No” on the ballot initiative. They aim their fire at the effect confined animal feeding operations have on poultry and other livestock, the use of genetically-modified (GMO) crops, and pesticide runoff into the state’s rivers.

“State Question 777 amounts a massive giveaway to corporate agriculture in a truly unprecedented way,” said Denise Deason-Toyne, president of Save the Illinois River. “Oklahomans have a right to clean water, clean air, and food safety. The ‘Right-to-Harm’ amendment strips them of those rights in favor of an industry that cares only about its own bottom line.”

Before the amendment could be placed on the ballot, it first had to be approved by the state Senate and House of Representatives. The Humane Society of the United States lobbied heavily against the initiative, including showering state legislators with anti-SQ 777 emails. Despite HSUS’s efforts, legislation approving the ballot initiative passed easily. HSUS, a radical national animal-rights organization, wasn’t helped by its over-the-top rhetoric. The group’s CEO Wayne Pacelle has said, “I don’t want to see another cat or dog born.”

Many states have right-to-farm statutes, but right-to-farm constitutional amendments are something new. North Dakota was the first state to adopt a right-to-farm constitutional amendment, doing so in 2012. Missouri followed suit in 2014.

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About the Author: Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.

Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D., is a senior policy analyst with CFACT.

  • Elizabeth Davis

    Maybe all these interest groups should grow their own food or just starve. Farming in hard work so I suppose they would not like that. It might take up to much of their time to protest every little thing. Give them a hoe, rake and shovel and let them have at it. let them find out where to get the seed to plant.

    • ninetyninepct

      That 4skn Pacelle likely assumes that food comes from the store, just like fuel for his SUV and plane come from a hose, that electricity for his computer comes from a wire. He would also be disgusted when he discovers that he exists because his parents had sex and forgot to use birth control. UGH.

  • Tuaca1107

    It is called a bundle of rights that comes with our private properties. Don’t need a special statute to give us permission for what we already have!!!

    • Tomahawk

      We shouldn’t, but sadly, we do. It’s time to end this madness.

      • Tuaca1107

        I don’t. The Code Enforcement doesn’t even come close to my property any more. Go to meetings and tell them who you are, that’s what I did.

        I give my name and follow with; “I am a non-person, non-resident, unenfranchised natural woman. I am not a legal fiction.”

  • ninetyninepct

    “CEO Wayne Pacelle has said, ‘I don’t want to see another cat or dog born.’”

    And I don’t want to see any spawn of his polluting the planet, consuming what food might be available and wastefully consuming energy. The next time he or any of his environmental jihadists step on a farm, offer to castrate thim as a small contribution to their jihadist efforts by preventing him from fouling the earth with any more like him. The castrating should use those nice tight little rubber bands that cut off circulation to his scrotum. Horribly horribly painful but permanent when his useless little scrotum falls off.

  • John

    I know a couple of things with certainty, I love to eat, and I am completely unable to be a farmer or rancher or work on a farm or ranch. Working on farms and ranches is very demanding and requires a toughness and work ethic I think is uncommon these days. If there is a difficult or breach birth, you must know what is happening and how to take care of it NOW! Decades ago, I noticed that something didn’t seem quite right, unfortunately, I knew nothing about neonatalisoerythorlysis(sp.?), and the result was a dead foal and other complications. Also, with agriculture, weather can wipe out a whole year’s work. Animal rights?, just watch them interact. It is might makes right. If you can’t beat me, tough on you and just lump it.

  • Dano2

    Maybe a different law to make CAFOs clean up their mess with their own money instead??

    Best,

    D

  • AllenBarclayAllen

    Globalist have no right in matters they can’t possibly understand ! Farmers have the right to breed cats that keep the mice and rats populations down ! Failure to do this could result in an intire crop in storage destroyed by a major deisese causing bacteria in their grain storage !
    Milk farms bacteria is significantly reduced by a healthy cat population ! And every body knows it ! These green globalestbare a reincarnated cat murders of the black plague order ! Condemning cats and cat owners as witchcraft with a public need to be burned ! This kind of thinking leads to out of control deisese of history ! These globalest are the very whitchcraft history has instructed us to ignore !
    Farmers bread cartel and conciquently have the logical right to breed all the other animals needed in keeping those cartel healthy !
    Supriseingly these globalest ,not having a clue , not understanding any of the things they speek , have not said one damn thing about the need to domesticate Bever Gods water dog to the task of contributing to the health of these farms ,as Bever domesticated , in the stremams around such frames by nature of what they do keep an abundance of water in acufers streets ,and lakes around that farm protecting THESE FARMERS FROM SERIOUS DROUGHT ,like we’re suffering out west !
    Problem being these farmers are not domesticating enough animals to help them with their mission of feeding the world like we have in the past ! So I see a real motive here Globalest want to destroy every bit of life here in the united states starting with farming ,families , Army’s ,culture for some communistic Global new world order to move about freely with out interruption from the United States human rights bill of rights sepiriorly in the world ! Why you say? BECAUSE WE SCARE THE HELL OUT OF THEM !