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Missouri Democrats Propose "Farmer's Bill of Rights" During Jopl - KOAM TV 7

Missouri Democrats Propose "Farmer's Bill of Rights" During Joplin Visit

Updated:
Joplin, MO -

Representatives from Missouri's Democratic Party visited Joplin to discuss upcoming legislation called the "Farmer's Bill of Rights."  Democrats say it's all about common sense, but Republicans feel this is all about politics.

Listen up.

"I am an independent farmer," says Bob Glenn.

That's a proud "roar" coming from Glenn, a cattle farmer, to be exact.

"We don't have contracts to fulfill.  We go to the local sale barn," says Glenn.

But Glenn says his way of business is being gobbled-up by big corporations.

"Four or Five beef packers kill 80 percent of the livestock, 80 percent of the beef in this country," says Glenn.  "That means they can tell you what your product is worth."

From beef to pork...

"Smithfield Food is actually a company owned by the Chinese government.  So, the Chinese government owns the single largest producer of hogs in Missouri," says Stephen Webber, Chair of the Missouri Democratic Party.

Missouri Democrats say it's time the State bans foreign ownership of farms.  Part of the Democrats' proposed Farmer's Bill of Rights includes the "Right to Rural Opportunity."

"When you lose family farms, you lose local small businesses.  When you lose local small businesses, you lose your tax base.  When you lose your tax base, you lose your schools.  Ultimately, when you lose schools, you start losing your people," says Webber.

The proposed legislation is up for a sure debate.

"We've seen a lot of opposition from corporate agriculture already, and the Republican Party, which is controlled by these ag interests," says Webber.

But a representative from Missouri's Republican Party says in a statement, "Unlike the Democrats, we don't need an unveiling of what we are doing for Missouri agriculture---voters already understand it and have for many years.  After losing rural Missouri by historic margins in 2016, it's comical that the Missouri Democrat Party now things a press release ... makes them the Party of farmers.  The Missouri Republican Party always has and always will stand with Missouri farmers ... not just when it's politically convenient."

Democrats hope to introduce this farming legislation to the Capitol in January.  

In the statement to us, the Missouri Republican Party did not address specifics of the proposed Democrat legislation.

Below is the full statement from the Republican Party, and below that are more specifics of the Farmer's Bill of Rights.

Republican response

"JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Republican Party released this statement today in response to the Missouri Democrat Party’s attempt to use political maneuvers to appeal to Missouri farmers and ranchers:

“The Missouri Republican Party has been a long-time defender and friend to our state’s agricultural community - in fact I am a member of that community and we can always rely on Republican leaders to fight for us,” said Todd Graves, Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party. “Unlike the Democrats, we don’t need an unveiling of what we are doing for Missouri agriculture - voters already understand it and have for many years.  Our farmers and ranchers are a large part of what makes our state great, and that community will continue to find an ally in the Missouri Republican Party.”

Sam Cooper, Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party added:

“After losing rural Missouri by historic margins in 2016, it’s comical that the Missouri Democrat Party now thinks a press release and press conference in Jefferson City makes them the party of farmers,” said Sam Cooper, Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party.  “The Missouri Republican Party always has and always will stand with Missouri farmers and rural Missourians - not just when it's politically convenient.”

Details of legislation

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