The Missouri State House of Representatives passed HJR 7&11, the constitutional right to farm on Feb. 28 with a bipartisan 110 yes to 41 no vote. The legislation now goes to the State Senate for consideration.

The legislation began as two separate bills - HJR 7 and HJR 11 but the bills were combined in committee. Rep. Jason Smith (R-120) and Rep. Bill Reiboldt (R-160) sponsored HJR 7 and HJR 11 respectively. The Missouri Cattlemen's Association (MCA) 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. "This is a proactive step to protect the providers of food and fiber from outside groups wanting to stifle Missouri's farm and ranch families. If activists get their way and stymie food production in this country, consumers already struggling in this economy will be unnecessarily forced to pay more at the grocery store."

In addition to MCA Past President Lonny Duckworth testifying on behalf of MCA, the organization also mobilized its members on this priority issue and cattlemen were present in the state Capitol every week since the beginning of the legislative session to stress the importance of HJR7 and HJR11. Deering said MCA members made their voices heard and certainly contributed to the passage of this legislation.

Leaders from both parties praised the passage of Right to Farm, which will now move to the Missouri Senate. If passed by the Senate, HJR 7&11 would be referred to the voters as a ballot question in 2014. Deering said everyone involved in agriculture, including consumers, need to contact their state senator and encourage a vote in favor of Missouri's vibrant agricultural sector and its farm and ranch families.