My View From The Country

Ag Gets Good Results In Ballot Initiatives

California and North Dakota ballot initiatives go before state voters.

Election night was a good night for agriculture relative to the practice of ballot initiatives. The first victory was that there were fewer anti-agricultural initiatives than in the past. The big initiatives this election were Proposition 37 in California, and Measure 5 and Measure 3 in North Dakota.

▪ Passage of Proposition 37 would have mandated that genetically modified foods to be labeled as GMOs. It was defeated 53% to 47%.    

North Dakota’s Measure 5 was heavily supported by the Humane Society of the U.S. and would have created a felony penalty for malicious cruelty to a dog, cat or horse. It was defeated 67% to 33%.

▪ North Dakota’s Measure 3 also passed. It enshrines the right to farm in the state constitution, the first state to do so. According to AP, it guarantees the right of farmers to engage in "modern" agriculture and bars any law limiting their right "to employ agricultural technology, modern livestock production and ranching practices."

The ballot initiative process remains one of the greatest dangers to animal agriculture and appears to be the route of choice for the Humane Society of the U.S. It’s always amazing to see what measures are proposed and what passes. My home state of Colorado, for example, shocked all the pundits on Tuesday by solidly voting for the legalization of marijuana.

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

Ken (not verified)
on Nov 12, 2012

Troy is correct in the statement about ballot initiatives being a danger to agriculture. A couple of years ago a group of ag producers in Colorado were invited to a lunch with HSUS and it's head, Wayne Pacelle. They were essentially placing us on notice about 3 forms of age production they didn't like, those being farrowing crates for sows, feathered veal calves, and battery cages for hens. His statement to us was that Colorado has one of the easiest means of getting issues on the ballot and they were going to use that tool against us.
He also made a comment later on that they were going to look at dairys, and then look at feedlots in vase any one is still questioning their intent.

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contributor Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.


Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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