Jonathan Bartlett, Published November 02 2012
Letter: Not every ND farmer supports 3As a small farmer, I would like to express my opposition to Measure 3.
First, Measure 3 protects all farming or ranching practices someone defines as “modern.” We all know how often the original intent of the U.S. Constitution is misinterpreted, and the same would be likely for Measure 3. The measure’s vagueness could potentially be used to justify what happened to farmers like Percy Schmeiser, of Saskatchewan, whose field was contaminated by Monsanto’s patented, genetically modified canola. While in reality Monsanto’s seeds had violated his property rights, Schmeiser was initially required to pay Monsanto for unintentionally growing their canola.
Second, the underlying assumption shared by both radical environmentalists and the supporters of Measure 3 is that civil government has the responsibility of regulating agriculture as such. This is neither true nor necessary to ensure farmers and ranchers the ability to respond to customer needs.
As a people claiming the Christian faith, we need to realize that our source of law comes from somewhere higher than man’s mind. God’s word, the Bible, ought to be our basis for a free, prosperous and orderly society, and while the Bible does give civil government the authority to punish evils like theft or fraud, it does not grant the government authority to regulate agriculture. Certain practices may be sinful, but not all sins are crimes punishable by the state.
Lastly, top-down strategies do not last for long when voters have an unstable worldview. The best protection from radical environmentalists is not to make more laws, but to first make sure that our children’s education is rooted more in reverence for the Creator than for the creation. I urge a “no” vote on Measure 3.
Bartlett farms near Bottineau, N.D.