Thursday, July 31, 2014

Right to Farm Part 5: Who Supports Right to Farm?

I've heard a lot of arguments saying that Amendment 1 is a corporate-pushed proposal and that farmers aren't actually supporting it. So I flat out asked Brent Haden, one of the members who helped draft the amendment, how did this come about and who actually supports it? 

Part 1: Does Amendment 1 Support Corporations or Farmers?
Part 2: Is a Constitutional Amendment Necessary?
Part 3: Is Right to Farm a 'Blank Check?'
Part 4: Does Right to Farm Hurt Small Farmers?

Concern: This was created by corporations to try and control more Missouri farmland.

Question: Who created this amendment and who supports it?

Click here to see who supports Amendment 1.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Right to Farm Part 4: Does Right to Farm Hurt Small Farmers?

Many people are concerned that if Right to Farm passes in Missouri that it will hurt small farmers, however, Brent Haden--who helped draft the amendment--says otherwise. He believes that this amendment will impact farmers of all sizes but he see's it as a positive impact. Hear what he has to say.

Concern: If Right to Farm passes it will hurt small family farms and make it more difficult to maintain sustainable practices.

Question: Will this have an impact on small farms and/or organic farms?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Right to Farm Part 3: Is Right to Farm a 'Blank Check?'

Continuing our conversation on Amendment 1, Missouri's Right to Farm. I have Brent Haden of Haden and Byrne, who helped draft Amendment 1.

Read Part 1: Does Amendment 1 Protect Corporations or Farmers?
Read Part 2: Is a Constitutional Amendment Necessary? 

Concern: Amendment 1 will give corporations and farmers a ‘blank check’ to do whatever they want without repercussion.

Question: How will it affect current or future regulations that protect the environment, animals, water, etc.?

Friday, July 25, 2014

How to Lose the Argument on Animal Welfare

Dave Daley, interim dean of the College of Agriculture at Chico State University in California, says that your view on animal welfare depends on what you see when you look out your window.

This is an interesting concept and one that I believe farmers and ranchers can really learn from. At the 4th International Symposium on Beef Cattle Welfare, Daley gave an outline of  "How to Lose the Argument on Animal Welfare."

Read the full story on Beef Today

Here are 12 problems that he sees with the current state of agriculture’s point of view towards animal welfare:
  1. Assuming science will give us all the answers. Science doesn't solve ethical questions. -This is important because farming and animal welfare is such an emotional topic and too often we, farmers and ranchers, look at it from a logical standpoint
  2. Using economics as justification for animal welfare practices. -Again, think emotional response, not logical. But it's OK to remind folks that farming is a business as well as a way of life.
  3. Defending all agricultural practices. Defend those practices that are defensible. You lose credibility by trying to defend all practices. -Stick to what you know and your own farming practices. "While I can't speak for all farmers or ranchers, here's what we do......" Always be honest and transparent but don't overshoot the target.
  4. We can do better at animal welfare. -While there is always room for improvement, don't rollover just to please someone else. Be proud of what you do and confident that you are doing the best that you can do on your farm.
  5. Attacking everyone who disagrees (i.e. PETA, HSUS, vegans, etc.). -This is a tough one for me. While I certainly don't oppose people's choice of eating habits, nor do I wish to change their diets, I do have issues with PETA and HSUS. Just remember that it's OK to agree to disagree and always, always, always think before you speak (or rant in my case).
  6. Not being willing to listen. -This one is HUGE! Preaching will get you nowhere fast. Listen! Don't talk at them, talk to them. Find out why he/she/they oppose what you do and create a dialogue. You don't have to change their mind, just build that bridge to better understanding. Again, it's OK to agree to disagree.
  7. Assuming the lunatic fringe is the general public. -The Fonz says, "Assumptions are the termites of relationships." True story! A lot of people just assume that you abuse animals because of how you raise them. Moral of the story: Don't add more crazy to the pot, it's filling up fast enough.
  8. Being reactive instead of proactive. -How many times have we heard this one?! This is why it is so important to tell your story.
  9. Assuming that because someone disagrees with you they are stupid, evil or both. -Didn't we just discuss this? Assumptions are the devil!
  10. Not working hard enough to build coalitions that include the public. -Connect, connect, connect!
  11. Criticizing/mocking non-conventional production systems. There is room for other methods of production, so let the market determine success or failure. -'Nough said. Just like there is more than one way to skin a cat (not that I recommend any of them), there is more than one way to sow a seed, raise a pig, etc. Live and let live. It's about bridges, not road blocks.
  12. Trying to lead a parade without seeing if anyone is following. -While this is quite humorous to witness on the streets......wait, visualize of a guy flamboyantly marching down the street with a baton and he's all by himself. Now giggle, I know I am......
The bottom line is simple, we can't butt heads with those that oppose what we do and expect to get anywhere useful. We can't fight crazy with crazy. It just doesn't work. We need to be creating conversations, real conversations were you speak, then you listen and you respond to the response. Connect, connect, connect! (name that movie)

Building bridges is what it's all about. We need to stop leaping from one extreme to another extreme, instead, we need to jaunt along the middle ground.

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” ― Abraham Maslow

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Right to Farm Part 2: Is a Constitutional Amendment Necessary?

Again, we're hearing from Brent Haden, Haden and Byrne, who helped draft Amendment 1, Missouri Right to Farm.

This series is an effort to make this proposed amendment clearer so that you can make an educated decision before you cast your vote on August 5. 

Read Part 1: Does Amendment 1 Protect Corporations or Farmers?

Concern: Farmers already farm so a constitutional amendment is unnecessary.

Question: Why a sudden need for a constitutional amendment giving people the right to farm in Missouri? 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Right To Farm Part 1: Does Amendment 1 Protect Corporations or Farmers?

In Missouri, there is a lot of talk about Amendment 1, also known as Right to Farm. This Amendment would change the Missouri Constitution to protect family farmers from attacks from radical groups like HSUS, however, it would NOT alter any of the existing regulations concerning the environment, water, public health, etc. It would also allow future reasonable regulations to be made, as needed.

I have heard many concerns about Right to Farm, so I spoke with Brent Haden from The Law Firm of Hayden and Byrne. Brent was involved in the drafting of this amendment and here is a series that answers several questions and concerns that people have.

Concern: Right to Farm is merely a curtain for corporations to hide behind.

Question: Does Amendment 1 protect corporations? What does it actually do?