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Heather Szklarski, Grafton, N.D., Published October 21 2012

Letter: Think critically about potential consequences of ND Measure 3

As I look over my choices on the November ballot, I try to think critically about what the language of each of the constitutional measures is trying to say. Measure 3, the “right to farm” measure, made me think long and hard. I find some of the language troubling.

I should preface by saying that most of my family farms; those who don’t farm have jobs closely tied to agriculture, and my husband and I raise chickens for eggs and meat. We butcher the animals ourselves. I believe that growing food is one of the most important things a person can do, and I am not a member of the Humane Society.

Measure 3 states: “The right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state.” First, I don’t believe that anyone who eats – that’s 100 percent of us – would try to stop farming and ranching. Notice the troubling use of the word “modern” and look it up in the dictionary if you like. Modern does not mean “safe,” “efficient,” “economical” or even “good.” It simply means new … “contemporary,” “not antiquated or obsolete” or “of or pertaining to recent time.” There are many things that are considered “modern” that science has proved to be inferior to the “antiquated” model. Formula feeding vs. breast feeding infants is just one example.

While I disagree with unnecessary regulation, I don’t think that preventing future laws pertaining to large industries that affect the environment we all live is in anyone’s best interest. That is, in essence, what the rest of Measure 3 describes, again using the word “modern” rather than “safe,” to describe the farming and ranching practices that it would protect.

When deciding how to vote on Measure 3, or any of the constitutional measures on the ballot, I encourage everyone to think critically about the language used and what it may mean to all of us as property owners, concerned citizens and residents of this state.

Please ask yourself what exactly Measure 3 is proposing before deciding if it is necessary and desirable to add it to the state constitution.