"Right to Farm" Bill to be on Ballot Comes with Controversy - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

"Right to Farm" Bill to be on Ballot Comes with Controversy


OKLAHOMA--  SO FAR -- Most of the attention for next month's election has been on the race for president, but that won't be the only race on the ballot.

When voters in Oklahoma head to the polls, they'll be asked to weigh in on State Question 777, it's been called the "Right to Farm" Bill. 

Sam Barrik is one of thousands  people across Oklahoma for who farming is more than just part of their livelihood, it's their way of life.

He believes the "Right to Farm" bill will allow them to continue to run their farms as they see fit.

"Farm Bureau, Pork Council, Cattlemen, American Farmers and Ranchers, everyone who is supporting this, their livelihood is agriculture and they care about it," he said. (voting yes)

Barrik and other supporters of the bill believe it will protect them from environmentalists and other outside rights groups who might convince lawmakers to create regulations that could harm their farms, spiking produce and meat prices for consumers.

"We don't have the backing or the deep pockets like some activist groups might have, they have lots of reach into places that we don't have access to and our farmers and ranchers really need that extra protection ," Cattle Producer Chloe Jones said.  (voting yes)

Among other things, the bill would give farmers and ranchers the right to use Ag technology, and make use of livestock and ranching procedures.

"Who better to know how to do that than the local farmer and rancher," Barrik said. 

Opponents say, the wording in the amendment is too broad and might make it impossible for lawmakers to regulate the industry at all.

"No other business or industry in the state of Oklahoma or any other state is protected in that manner in the constitution of any state in this nation," Drew Edmondson , Chairman of the Oklahoma Stewardship Council and Former Attorney General said. (voting no)

Making it more difficult to protect animals and natural resources like water.

"It allows agriculture to continue engaging in new practices new procedures, new chemicals new herbicides, new pesticides, that may not today be regulated and we would lose the ability to regulate those in the future," Edmondson said. 

If the bill  passes with a simple majority, it will be added to the Oklahoma State Constitution.and could only be repealed by another vote.

Voting will take place on Nov. 8.