Monday, November 7, 2016
If SQ777 is passed by voters, Oklahoma would join Missouri and North Dakota where similar constitutional amendments were passed in 2014 and 2012, respectively, with no reports of the negative issues opponents to SQ777 argue will occur. SQ777 will allow farmers to defend themselves against unjust laws and regulations passed by a future Legislature or statutory changes placed on the ballot through a petition drive by groups like PETA, the Sierra Club and the United States Humane Society who are opposed to SQ777.
Opponents argue that Oklahomans already have a right to farm so this amendment is unnecessary. It is true that agriculture is not under attack today by those who serve in the Oklahoma Legislature, but as agriculture continues to become more efficient, fewer of us in agriculture are required to feed a growing number of people around the world. As a dwindling number of farmers tends to a growing number of acres to make ends meet, rural communities lose population. With each new census every 10 years, we see a drastic decline in the number of Oklahoma legislators directly involved in production agriculture, who know that food doesn't come from a grocery store. Small producers to typical farm acreages to larger, commercial operators will be equally protected by SQ777, however family farms who typically don’t have the finances to fight extreme animal rights or anti-agriculture groups who attack them would particularly benefit from this added safety net.
If you believe the current rights of Oklahomans to farm and ranch should be preserved for future generations, you will want to vote YES on SQ777. If you believe extreme animal rights and anti-agriculture groups along with a growing number of legislators with little or no understanding of agriculture do not pose a threat to current farming and ranching practices, you will want to vote NO on SQ777.
Rep. Jeffrey W. Hickman
Speaker of the House
State of Oklahoma