The following comes from the campaign of our partner, Oklahomans for Food, Farm & Family, an organization opposing the passage of State Question 777 (SQ777), on the ballot on Nov. 8:
In North Dakota, where voters approved a “Right to Farm” constitutional amendment, the Farm Bureau and Pork Council are suing to overturn the decades old prohibition on corporate agricultural ownership against the will of the people, the State of North Dakota and the Farmers Union:
The farmers union asked a federal judge last week for permission to help defend the law that aims to protect the state’s family farming heritage, which the union says “is the envy of other states and the backbone of our economy.” If U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland agrees, it will set up a showdown between the state’s two largest general farm groups, which together represent 72,000 farm families.
The lawsuit was filed by the farm bureau and other plaintiffs in June, arguing that the law passed by voters in 1932 hurts the agriculture industry by limiting farmers’ business options and interferes with interstate commerce because it bars out-of-state corporations from owning farming operations.
The state is defending the law. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem maintains it is not discriminatory, and he’s asked Hovland to dismiss the case.
Source: Associated Press and AgNewsFeed.com
In Oklahoma, these same entities successfully lobbied to circumvent our statutory prohibition against foreign and corporate ownership of agriculture (18 O.S. Section 951) to allow such ownership of hog and poultry facilities, livestock, hog and poultry feeding and breeding facilities, dairies and forestry (18 O.S. Section 1954). Subsequently, according to the USDA, these corporate and foreign entities account for 97/98% of all poultry and hogs produced in Oklahoma, overseeing the most drastic consolidation in the agricultural industry in Oklahoma history.
These are the entities pushing SQ777. The same organizations shrouding themselves in the visage of the family farmer aggressively pursue the corporate takeover of agriculture in another “Right to Farm” state. Actions speak louder than words. Every farmer and citizen of Oklahoma should know who these organizations actually represent and recognize that State Question 777 is clearly not for Oklahoma’s family farms.