This week the Missouri Senate Agriculture, Food Production, and Outdoor Resources Committee unanimously passed HJR 7&11 and SJR 22, the Right to Farm constitutional referendum. The legislation now goes to the full Senate for consideration and will help protect the state’s $11 billion per year agriculture industry from attacks made by out-of-state special interest groups, according to a release from Missouri Farmers Care,.

“Specifically, it creates a constitutional right for farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices,” Representative Jason Smith, one of the HJR 7&11 sponsors, said. “HFRs 11 and 7 are also relevant to Missourians who have no direct connection to farming. We should not overlook the fact that farmers provide the food we feed to our families and the many value-added products we use in our daily lives.”

If passed out of the General Assembly, HJR 7&11 will go to a vote of the people in the November 2014 ballot.

Missouri Cattlemen's Association (MCA) President-Elect Jim McCann spoke on behalf of MCA during the committee hearing earlier this week.

“Who wins with Right to Farm? Above and beyond Missouri's farm and ranch families, the ultimate winner is the consumer," McCann said. "Right to Farm allows consumers to have choices in the grocery story; prevents food prices from being inflated unnecessarily; and continues to ensure that sound science dictates production decisions. As producers, we want to be able to supply food for a growing global population and be part of the solution to curbing hunger."

Earlier this year, as the Missouri State House of Representatives mulled the bill, MAC Executive Vice President Mike Deering said the right to farm issue is a top priority for the organization.

"The fact is that this amendment shouldn't be necessary, but thanks to animal rights extremists groups destined to stifle Missouri's agricultural sector, it is not only necessary, it's absolutely essential," said Deering.

Read, “Missouri’s Right to Farm fight.”