OKLAHOMA CITY – A House lawmaker intends to file a bill that would protect the rights of Oklahoma farmers and ranchers to engage in and utilize modern and traditional agriculture practices.
State Rep. Scott Biggs’ legislation would place a state question on the November 2014 ballot to amend the constitution to protect “the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices” and would prevent any state law or regulation that would “[abridge] the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology and modern livestock production and ranching practices.”
Biggs, a member of the House Agriculture and Wildlife Committee who grew up on a farm in Indiana and studied agriculture economics at Oklahoma State University, said the amendment is necessary to protect the industry from outside special interest and activist groups.
“Whether it is one of these liberal eco-terrorist groups that complain about the way we use our land or the animal-rights groups that claim we mistreat our livestock, our rural way of life is under attack,” said Biggs, R-Chickasha. “Farmers and ranchers are environmentalists by necessity. We have sweat and blood invested in our land, and we care for it deeply.
“We depend on the land to provide for our families and we work hard to preserve it for our kids and grandkids. By imbedding this natural right into our state constitution, we can protect our land and our way of life for generations to come.”
In November, voters in North Dakota overwhelmingly approved a similar measure that amended that state’s constitution.