ROSE NOLEN: Uncertain about right to farm, when corporations are involved

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 4:23 p.m. CDT

I've always considered myself to be a friend of the farmers. I grew up in a small town where farmers were my next-door neighbors.

Rose NolenA lot of our daily breakfast foods originated in their backyards. Items such as bacon, eggs, milk and butter never traveled through the grocery store.

I've always believed the right to farm to be in the same package as my feelings toward freedom of speech. These are not the kind of rights that have to be written down. These are constitutional rights, like the right to vote.

So, OK, that brings us up to date. When the election comes up in August, I don't plan to vote for rights that I already have. If I want to farm, I'll do what I've done all my life. I'll get me a spot in the community garden, and I'll start farming.

But I read the papers. On my ballot next month, I'll need to make a choice. I have to vote yes or no on the right to farm. I'll need to choose if the right to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed.

In other words, do I want to marry this practice or not?

So, here's the problem. When I grew up with farmers who lived next door, they were individuals, with wives or husbands and children. These farmers were not corporations with boards of directors and investors. So when it comes to other-than-individual farmers, I'm way out of my depth and expertise in dealing with these kinds of farmers.

As far as The Humane Society of the United States and other such groups are concerned, I depend on them to keep an eye out for situations that may affect the manner in which my food is raised or produced. I depend on the state to regulate the safety and sanitary conditions for the food and produce that is sold to the public.

I'm not willing to trust individual farmers and ranchers to determine the manner in which my food is raised and produced without regulations.

Does the right to farm and ranch also include the right to sell food and produce to the public?

I need to have a lot more information on the subject. The right to farm and ranch is one thing. After that, we need to talk.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at

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