On Monday, October 23, early voting begins and Texans will vote on a proposed constitutional amendment, HJR 126 or Proposition 1, that would enshrine the "right to farm" in the Texas constitution. Election Day is Tuesday, November 7.
We urge you to vote No on Prop 1.
Prop 1 gives Big Ag more advantages to expand in Texas at the expense of our family farmers, our property rights, and our environmental protections.
1) We don’t need a constitutional amendment. There are already laws on the books, including brand-new bills from this year’s legislative session.
2 ) Prop 1 goes too far. The current laws are already so strong that a neighbor lost a case in court against a feedlot whose manure lagoons were overflowing onto their property during storms. Prop 1 would make it even harder for neighbors, and even the government, to rein in bad actors like this.
That means harm not only to the “city slicker” neighbors so often referenced by the proponents, but to small and organic farmer neighbors as well.
Because of this, FARFA believes Prop 1 is too likely to harm small farmers, sets a bad legal precedent for property rights for everyone, and is bad for communities.
3) Too much power in unelected hands. The “generally accepted” agricultural practices that are central to the proposed protections will be defined by A&M Extension, which typically promotes consolidated, chemical-intensive agriculture – and there’s no process for input or review.
4) It would become nearly impossible to change. We can’t predict our needs or how this vaguely worded amendment would impact us in the future, but if it goes into the Constitution, it will take a ⅔ vote by future lawmakers and a new vote by the public to change it.
There are real abuses by local governments and real changes that need to be made to rein in unnecessary regulations, but they can and should be addressed without giving industrial agriculture more power and a blank check to harm others in the name of “feeding America”.
To learn more, check out these resources: