Farmers divided on "Right to Farm" amendment
COLUMBIA - Amendment One, also known as the "Right to Farm", is anyone's game before all the Missouri primary votes are tallied Tuesday night.
The controversial amendment ballot reads:
"Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed?
The potential costs or savings to governmental entities are unknown, but likely limited unless the resolution leads to increased litigation costs and/or the loss of federal funding."
LeeAnn Martin comes from six generations of Missouri family farmers. She said she voted "yes" on Amendment One at the polls Tuesday morning.
"I understand farming. I understand where food comes from and what it takes," Martin said. "A lot of people don't understand the whole farming process."
Family farmer Rhonda Perry, however, said she too understands the process and that bolsters her support against the amendment. Perry also comes from generations of family farmers and said she believes the amendment will take away protections for family farmers and open too many doors for large, corporate farming companies.
Both Martin and Perry said they think the amendment will end in their favor, an outcome confusing to many voters. Voters have expressed confusion surrounding the "Right to Farm" amendment throughout the election season, especially as Missouri farmers rally against each other.
Martin said she observed a high voter turnout at the polls Tuesday morning. "I've never seen it like this at an August vote. Something brought everybody out," she said.
Perry said she believes that something is Amendment One.
"I don't know what the results will be. We are cautiously optimistic. We feel like a good number of voters in Columbia were opposed to Amendment One. I think there's a significant number of voters who voted explicitly just to vote on Amendment One," Perry said.
The polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Afterwards, both supporters and opponents have watch parties scheduled in both Jefferson City and Columbia as they await the results.
"I'm confident that rural Missouri will pass it," Martin said. "I'm not confident that Kansas City and St. Louis can't take it away from the people that actually understand the amendment."
"I'm not an expert. I really don't know what's going to happen, but I feel like there's been a pretty incredible campaign," Perry said.
While supporters and opponents want drastically different outcomes, they seem to agree on two things: there is heavy misconception surrounding the amendment and the Missouri farming industry is in a volatile state legislatively.
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