Both sides in the debate over State Question 777 — the so-called Right to Farm proposal — have been guilty of excesses in their arguments.
The proponents have suggested that only a state constitutional measure could shield cherished rural values of decent working farmers from the meddling hands of bureaucrats and lunatic eco-extremists.
My passion for the gridiron is well known. What a lot of people don’t know about me is my love of animals.
My wife, Becky, and I own several dogs and they are a big part of our life. We have trained working dogs, and we own others that are being trained for search and rescue missions. We’ve also rescued many dogs over the years who were abused or neglected and we do whatever we can to elevate animal welfare, including facilitating adoptions.
Our passion for animals is just one of the reasons we oppose State Question 777.
At its most recent meeting on Monday, July 11, the Edmond City Council formally passed a resolution opposing State Question 777 (Oklahoma Right to Farm). Resolution No. 18-16 lays out the reasons for opposition to the proposed question.
"The passage of this question would change the State Constitution and that change would supersede our Edmond processes for land use planning and zoning regulations,” said Mayor Charles Lamb. "This change would limit our ability to fulfill our statutory obligation to preserve the health, safety, and welfare of our citizens.”
Oklahoma is home to 78,000 farming operations that cover 34.2 million acres, more than three-fourths of the total area. Those farms produce more than $7.1 billion of products each year, more than $5.2 billion of that in livestock and poultry, making Oklahoma the 11th-largest livestock producing state and 23rd-largest ag-producing state.
Most farmers will support State Question 777 in November. The measure would add a new section to Article II of the Oklahoma Constitution. It would be four sentences long.
When Oklahomans hear “right to farm,” we immediately think of family farms and generational growers of chickens, cows and crops. The three words undeniably elicit emotion tied to our pioneering spirit, heartland traditions and our deeply held democratic convictions about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Most folks at the Oklahoma Farm Bureau are decent, hard-working people. They’re also quite insane. That’s because they convinced Oklahoma's politicians to put State Question 777, the Right to Farm, on the November ballot.
SQ 777 would allow additional (poultry confined animal feeding operations ) in the same waterway the city of Tulsa gets its drinking water. That would raise taxes on Tulsa residents who have already paid millions to filter and process their drinking water so it is safe and not overly smelly.
Opponents of State Question 777 have filed an appeal to try and keep the measure on farming practices off the statewide ballot in November.
Attorneys for opponents of the ballot measure have filed an accelerated appeal in the case, in hopes the Oklahoma Supreme Court will take up the matter before a deadline in late August for the Oklahoma Election Board to print the November ballot, said Heather Hintz, an attorney for plaintiffs in the case.
The Oklahoma Farm Bureau and other supporters of the so-called Right to Farm proposal — State Question 777 — know that with voter approval, it grants corporate farm operators legal right to forbid any special testing on their properties for pollution of surface drinking waters and subsurface water sources.
Why are they against some water tests? Special testing can detect dangerous levels of herbicides, pesticides chemicals and fertilizers — additives toxic to humans, but often used by big agriculture.
Coming to us now—in what seems like another float in the annual parade of perplexing, often unconstitutional proposed amendments to the Oklahoma Constitution—State Question 777, also known as the Right to Farm Bill. If approved by voters in November, it will fundamentally change the scope of state regulations on farming practices … by removing them.
Here's the money shot.
The debate over State Question 777 — the so-called “Right to Farm” amendment — has got me thinking about my dad. He was a farmer in Canute. Like all farm kids, my four brothers and I helped him out with the work — chopping cotton, combining wheat, tending cattle. We didn't ask if the work we did was bad for our health. We had no idea it could be.