LAST Tuesday was a big day for agriculture at the polls, with significant wins for friends of agriculture as well as Missouri voters who supported an amendment ensuring that farmers have the right to choose technology and production practices without intervention.
On Aug. 5, Missouri voters narrowly passed an amendment that asked voters: "Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed?"
It passed by just 2,500 votes, only 0.2% of the nearly 1 million votes cast. State law allows for a recount if the margin of passage is below 0.5%, but it must be requested by the losing side. A request cannot be made until the results of the primary election are certified, which should be in about three weeks.
Blake Hurst, Missouri Farm Bureau president, said the final analysis showed that The Humane Society of the United States was the largest outside contributor to the campaign. Opponents had spread the notion that those who supported the amendment were "tools of foreign corporate interests," Hurst said.
"We will, of course, have to see how a recount holds up, but whatever the outcome, we, as farmers, will continue to work to be worthy of the trust placed in us by Missourians by caring for our land, our animals and our neighbors," Hurst said.
Also during the week, the Massachusetts legislature's failure to act essentially killed legislation backed by animal rights groups that would have prohibited hog farmers in the state from housing sows in gestation stalls.
This type of legislation could no longer be pursued in Missouri if its newly passed amendment holds up after the recount.
Two prominent Kansas Republicans won their primaries Aug. 5.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) beat out a Tea Party challenger. His race was closely watched during the primary, but with the win, Roberts is likely to easily win the general election this fall.
Prior to this last session, Roberts served as a Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member; he could take over the role of chairman if the Senate switches to Republican control and Sen. Thad Cochran (R., Miss.) moves to another chairman post.
As for Cochran, a few weeks ago, he won a run-off of the primary that was too close to call in the state. Last week, his challenger, Chris McDaniel, was told by Mississippi Republican Party chairman Joe Nosef that there is too little time to examine all of the materials in the party's contested Senate run-off election, and it will have to go to court to settle the results.
In a letter to McDaniel's lawyer, Nosef said, "Given the extraordinary relief requested of overturning a United States Senate primary in which over 360,000 Mississippians cast votes, the only way to ensure the integrity of the election process and provide a prudent review of this matter is in a court of law."
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) also won his primary contest last week. Earlier this year, Pompeo introduced a bill that would create a national standard for labeling foods containing genetically modified organisms.