Voters watching “Right To Farm” Amendment closely

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - Voters are also keeping an eye on "Right To Farm" issue.

At Helen Fitzgerald`s on South Lindbergh, where opponents of Amendment 1, known as the "Right to farm" amendment, are watching the results come in. Meanwhile, supporters, which include a coalition of farming organizations, are gathered in Jefferson City Tuesday night.

Supporters say the amendment is needed to protect agriculture in Missouri. Specifically, they say farmers need to be safeguarded against costly regulations, like restrictions on genetically modified seeds, and the number of livestock farmers can own.  These fears are fueled, in part, by agriculture regulations recently passed in other states, as well as Missouri legislation passed in 2011, which imposed stricter rules on dog breeding.

But, according to the Humane Society, that same legislation helped ban puppy mills, which they fear,  could return if this amendment passes. Opponents also worry about the amendment`s vague wording.  If it passes, they predict many legal battles over what it means. They fear, those lawsuits could benefit large companies and foreign interests with deep pockets while hurting animals and the environment.

Meanwhile, Republicans introduced this amendment, but support for it has not fallen along party lines. Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat, supports it, while Democratic Governor Jay Nixon does not.  He says that altering the state`s constitution should be done sparingly and isn't necessary in this case.

Amendment 1 needs a simple majority to pass.