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Understanding Missouri’s Right To Farm Bill

Oh, it has been a while since I’ve gone on a tear. And go on a tear, I must. You see, the other day, I got a post to our page that quirked a brow.

A congressman's wife? Trolling? Say it ain't so!
A congressman’s wife? Trolling? Say it ain’t so!

So, I went to check this out. Here is what I saw:

donnaturkDonna Turk, wife of Jacob Turk, who, for all accounts is for the small farmer. Why, sure! It says so right on his Elect Turk page:

Jacob Turk is a Missouri conservative who knows first hand the challenges of operating a small business, is concerned with the plight of the urban core, has real solutions for the struggling working man, and has served our country with honor and distinction as a U.S. Marine. 

Now, one imagines that since he is such an advocate, of all people, his wife would come rallying to his defense. And surely, she’d be bringing her A game, chock full of knowledge and a counter argument that would educate everyone.

One also imagines riding a unicorn through the streets handing out puppies that poop gold coin to children.

The good Mrs. Turk came on to the event page and copy and pasted the message above in response to everything. I scrolled down the page and counted 22 of these spammy copy pasta jobs before I just rolled my eyes and quit. There’s more, though.

Then, mother Turk came on, clutching her pearls. Only thing was, she did it in such a way that indicated perhaps Daughter In Law Dearest had called her to aid her son. Aw. It’s good to see a family stick together.

At this point, it becomes quite evident that the Turks get their PR advice from middle school children.
At this point, it becomes quite evident that the Turks get their social media PR advice from middle school children.

So, I thought, maybe I should answer the good mother’s plaintive queries here, because seeing Donna interact, it’s clear she can’t. Which is really sad. If Congressman Turk’s own wife doesn’t understand the bill well enough to do more than copy and paste some peer pressure style bullshit: do we really imagine he cares enough to help the people understand it? I’m not even a public official, and though Kurt disagrees with me on several issues- he fully and completely understands my stances on them inside and out. It’s one of those marriage as a partnership things, I always thought. We’re not married, but, really, if your own partner or spouse doesn’t get it: you’re doing something very, very wrong. This is a pretty telling sign for the would be Congressman, is it not?

So, let’s talk about the Right To Farm Bill a bit, shall we? A little backstory.

In most states where this sort of thing is being bandied about, it’s being promoted as a protection for farmers- an update to existing laws that protect them from being sued by city folks who move to the country and then attempt to sue them over the normal smells of farm life.

There’s all this promotional garbage about blah blah blah feeding people, the backbone of our little section of the country’s industry, hard working farmers, blah blah blah. But somewhere in all this rhetoric and emotional appealing- there’s a really vague bill that is worded in such a way that it leaves the door hanging wide open for some really insidious stuff. Oh, how do we translate that? It’s an invitation for corporate interests to come to the party.

The amendment to these bills also tends to be worded in such a way that it would shield larger slaughterhouses, farms, feedlots, and industrial dairies from food safety and environmental regulations. It would also prevent people from suing for the damages when they get sick when animal waste is improperly disposed of. Going deeper, it may strip smaller farmers and others of their rights to grow and produce their own food. You think I’m being hysterical, but that’s already been happening under the current Big Ag stranglehold. And they don’t have a sweet little peach of a vague bit of legislature to help them. Think I’m full of it? Ask Morningland Dairy what they think. Why, SURE! You can trust your government. To raid your small farm over…cheese. To take away your livelihood, strip you of all you’ve worked hard for, and help supply the public with a greasy oily mess version of the quality you once provided. But hey, man, rubber cheese is government sanctioned!

The wording that most people assume grant such protections- and favor biotech giants, was “the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed”- forever?

Like, BFFs, forever and ever? SQUEEEE! Let me get my unicorn, again. Missouri dropped the word “modern” because people rightfully said that opened the bad back door- but then language of it all becomes even more vague.

Bills so good, you gotta sneak ‘em in!

In Indiana, when a similar bill started becoming a little more understandable to most people, those people were pretty upset. So, what did their government do?

Renamed it and passed it anyway. No, they weren’t being sneaky! Renaming it Indiana Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment was totally above board. Sure. Because anyone searching matters of public record for farm bills would look at hunting and fishing bills. I’m really holding back the Wayne’s World “NOT!” here. Oh, crap. I just did it, didn’t I?

Well, who’s behind all this? Prepared to be Totally Shocked

Ever passionate champions of the small, local farmer, Cargill and Monsanto- I just shot coffee out of my nose and on to my keyboard. Okay, The drive to change these amendments comes from one group- Members of Missouri Farmers Care. This group has two big funding elements: Cargill and Monsanto. Okay, that, I could type without laughing.

Further, the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC is in on this one. If you don’t know who that is, remember that movie based on the Stephen King under Pseudonym short story Running Man?

ALEC would be the group that sells citizens out to The Network. Officially, they “bring together corporations and state lawmakers to write pro-business bills.” They created a sort of master template and handed it out to all 50 states. This bill actually voids any and all local farm ordinances and makes it more difficult for any action to be taken against farms that meet the “standards” set. Yeah, those would be factory farms.

Well, these companies care, right?

HCS HJRs 11 & 7, or Missouri Right to Farm is being touted on one side as being the way to bolster farming activities thereby helping those communities in which it applies, and on the other as an invitation for evil which will cause animals to be harmed and people to be sickened by the shoddy practices of big agribusiness.

What are the facts, here? Well, do these corporations have pristine records of protecting people? Not getting into trouble with deceptive practices? Protecting the environment around them?

No, no. Not really. But they’ve got deep pockets for which money can be thrown at people to shut them up with gag orders, and that’s kind of the same, right?

Again, not really. Yeah, any time some multinational gets into trouble, they do take care of damages. Sure. They also hand you a little non disclosure thing that says since they’re giving you money, you shut up and go away, now.

But, does ALEC have a strong track record of protec- look. I can’t even ask that with a straight face. ALEC doesn’t give a flying shit about you and I. They like money and loads of it.

They’re not even a lobby- they OWN and control them. Want a little perspective? A corporate member will shell out anywhere between $7,000 and $25,000 per year just to be a member. That’s the tip of the iceberg, really. If you want special perks, like being on a task force, expect to pony up anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000. But, if you’re one of the lawmakers- you get to pay the princely sum of fifty bucks a year. Not a giant shock that they have over 2000 lawmakers in their pockets versus 300 corporate members. Shit, it’s just good business sense to keep your servants plentiful and masters few, isn’t it?

If you've ever wondered why photos like this are "funny 'cause it's true": I can answer that.  It's because, well, we, The People, are not their "boss". We should be, but we aren't. ALEC's corporate member roster can tell you just who is.
If you’ve ever wondered why photos like this are “funny ’cause it’s true”: I can answer that.
It’s because, well, we, The People, are not their “boss”. We should be, but we aren’t. ALEC’s corporate member roster can tell you just who is.

About the bill itself

While I personally don’t read a lot of evil in it, I also don’t read a lot of good in it. I don’t read a whole lot of anything in it, actually. It’s a vague piece of shit. On the base level, without knowing what’s behind it: it’s a vague bill with a lot of room for manipulation.

When you know who’s behind it, you understand why. Both of the two major players I mentioned earlier have a horrendous track record for not only absolutely ruining local economy: if you, as a small local farmer have the audacity to have your own bio-diversity upset by their Frankencrops: they’ll sue the piss out of you for your troubles. They’re pretty much the Wal Mart to your small corner store, coming in like cockroaches, eating the local economy, raking in government benefits to doing so, and killing any hope of the people having control of the free market. Yep. You think supporting them makes you pro-free market, you are WRONG. It means you’ve been placated enough to believe that they will grant you any control whatsoever- and trust me, they don’t and they never will. Sure, you’ll be free. Free to do what they tell you, the way they tell you, spending your hard earned money on their stuff- because once they run off all the small, locally owned businesses and farms- and they do, they’re the only horse in the race. Sounds free to me. Kinda like when I tell my kids, “You can either eat that or you can go hungry”. It’s called illusion of choice.

Of course, you can opt in to their farming practices and use their products- and why, you could stand to rake in millions and feed so many people so much cheaper! With crops that nobody fully understands yet, and pesticides that are killing off beneficial pollinators.  Do I even need to get started on Cargill, after that? Between labor violations, ethics problems, and really crappy waste management practices: pun totally intended, I’m not thinking that I do. You know why there’s a big push by these groups to vilify animal rights groups? It’s not because they’re shrieking harpies, who want everyone to become vegan. It’s because they don’t WANT someone to be able to point out the cruelty they fully intend to practice. By the way, that cruelty? It leads to diseases in the food and poor quality meat. That’s why it’s cheaper, kids.

So, why, then, would two big giants like that endorse a bill that vaguely claims to protect: “the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state.”

Gee, you tell me.

 

If you’d like more information on the upcoming August issues with this, or you’d just like to watch a Missouri Congressman’s family make total assholes of themselves- visit the Vote No On Constitutional Amendment 1 group on Facebook.

 

 

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