Agriculture industry seeks to create right to farm
North Dakota voters approved their right-to-farm measure by a two-thirds vote in 2012 after a relatively low-profile campaign in which the North Dakota Farm Bureau spent $158,000 promoting the measure. Opponents spent little.
The state Farm Bureau pursued the initiative after the Humane Society of the United States unsuccessfully pushed a measure two years earlier to abolish fenced hunting preserves in North Dakota.
Soon, agriculture leaders from Iowa to Idaho and numerous other places were inquiring about how to do something similar, said Jeffrey Missling, executive vice president of the North Dakota Farm Bureau.
A year ago, the North Dakota measure was a topic for discussion as legislative agriculture chairmen from across the U.S. gathered for a conference in Vancouver, Canada. The event by the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Association was financed by dozens of agriculture businesses, including Archer Daniels Midland Co., Cargill, DuPont Pioneer, Deere & Co. and Tyson Foods. Among those present was Missouri Rep. Bill Reiboldt, a farmer who sponsored the right-to-farm amendment referred to this year’s ballot by the Republican-led state Legislature.
The outcome of Missouri’s vote could influence what happens next in the right-to-farm movement.
"There’s a lot of rural people who would like to see it be a trend," said Carolyn Orr, executive secretary of the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Association.
If it passes here, she added, "other state legislators will look at it more seriously."