Missouri voters have narrowly passed an amendment to the state’s constitution instituting a so-called "right to farm" and the chair of the Kentucky House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Small Business says a similar action could be coming in the commonwealth.
The amendment, passed by just over 2,500 votes, states “the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall forever be guaranteed.”
State Rep. Tom McKee says the rights of Kentucky farmers will be examined in the next legislative session.
“Right to farm means a whole lot of things," McKee said. "Right to farm means the ability to spread manure on your agricultural land even though it might provide a slight inconvenience for urban neighbors that maybe chose to move there after you got there.”
McKee said that livestock treatment and dust generated by farming equipment are other aspects of the issue.
Opponents of the Missouri ballot measure say the amendment undermines existing state rules to protect agriculture and will increase the presence of foreign-owned industrial farms, and with them, pollution.
The No on Amendment 1 organization also claims that the amendment was pushed by special interests looking to subvert Missouri’s laws against puppy mills.
McKee said he hopes any right-to-farm legislation created for Kentucky would not be as divisive as Missouri’s.
“I would hope that if we chose to move it forward, that we could seek greater compromise between the sides that we’ll not have a nail-biting thing like that," McKee said. "I would hope so. That’s why we’re just at the beginning stages.”