On November 8, our state ballot will be packed with questions we must vote on. One state question is of particular importance to rural Oklahoma farmers and cattle ranchers – State Question 777.
The measure would add Section 38 to Article II of the Oklahoma Constitution, which would read:
“To protect agriculture as a vital sector of Oklahoma’s economy, which provides food, energy, health benefits and security and is the foundation and stabilizing force of Oklahoma’s economy, the rights of citizens and lawful residents of Oklahoma to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state. The Legislature shall pass no law which abridges the right of citizens and lawful residents of Oklahoma to employ agricultural technology and livestock production and ranching practices without a compelling state interest. “
According to Oklahoma Secretary of State’s website, Section 38 would create the following guaranteed state constitutional rights for those engaging in farming and ranching:
- The right to make use of agricultural technology,
- The right to make use of livestock procedures, and
- The right to make use of ranching practices.
Oklahoma has 80,000 farms and ranches. 98 percent are family owned and operated. These 80,000 people are responsible for helping feed nearly 4 million people in Oklahoma and hundreds of millions across the nation and globe.
According to Oklahoma Farm Bureau Director of National Affairs, LeAnna McNally, “The base of this is really about consumer choice and farmers and ranchers being able to produce a safe and affordable food supply in the future. All types of farmers and ranchers should be able to produce a safe and affordable food supply with a variety of products, whatever they want to grow.”
The question on the ballot for voters is, “Shall the proposal be approved?” A vote for the proposal, or a yes vote, is a vote to amend the state constitution to include the right to farm and ranch. A vote against the proposal, or a no vote, is a vote against amending the constitution to include the right to farm and ranch.