Arkansas Agriculture Edition 44 : Page 9

Soybean, rice, catfish, beef, corn, grain sorghum and wheat farmers, along with agricultural businesses, fund research and promotion of these commodities to help increase consumption, farm efficiency and environmental stewardship. These important programs need to continue as presently set up and run to maintain the best interests of Arkansas agriculture. and chemicals, preferring that state agencies govern those regulations. This law would add seed technology to that list. County and city governments in Oregon, Washington and California have recently sought to limit the use of genetically enhanced seeds. Arkansas farmers support the use of biotechnology as a way to safely increase yields and often reduce water, pesticide and chemical use. Regulation at the state level is key to maintain consistent and scientifically sound rules. We think this is an important addition to state law to maintain a farmer’s right to farm. “There is so much misinformation about biotechnology. In other states, we’ve seen local governments limit the use of some seeds,” Pitchford said. “Those regulations aren’t based in science, and they limit farmers’ ability to make the best choices for their operations. State level regulation protects the interest of farmers from special interests.” Protection of Livestock Farming and Ranching Practices Many organizations would like to see animal agriculture abolished or raising livestock altered in significant ways. Arkansas Farm Bureau helped pass a right-to-farm law many years ago that protects farmers against nuisance complaints and limits the ability of local government to pass laws concerning animal husbandry. It’s a priority of Farm Bureau to maintain reasonable regulations for animal agriculture and environmental regulations based in science instead of emotion. “Animal agriculture is always under tremendous scrutiny. We see animal welfare groups interjecting themselves into the law-making process all over the country,” Veach said. “If those groups were successful, there might not be any animal agriculture left and what’s left might not even be what’s best for the animal. “Our objective is to protect a farmer’s or rancher’s right to farm and preserve their ability to care for their animals. Our farmers and ranchers possess so much expertise in animal husbandry, and they have professional veterinary resources when they lack skill or knowledge.” Strengthen Private Property Protection Another key component in strengthening right-to-farm laws in Arkansas, is revising the trespassing code. Arkansas Farm Bureau will support efforts to strengthen state trespassing statues where criminal intent is involved and to limit landowners’ duty of care for trespassers. We’ll also Arkansas Agriculture | ARKANSAS FARM BUREAU • WINTER 2017 9

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