States, big ag move to revoke basic property rights


By Johnathan Hladik - Center for Rural Affairs



Across the nation, six states have passed or proposed policies that serve as a clear rebuke of private property rights. In Utah, Nebraska, Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Oklahoma, state lawmakers are framing expanded Right to Farm legislation as a litmus test in a divisive political environment. A vote against, we are told, is a vote against agriculture.

Don’t be fooled. It’s a false choice.

These bills directly limit personal property rights. Every landowner is entitled to the use and enjoyment of their land. When someone or something interferes with that right, you can pursue legal remedies. This is a last resort when nothing else works.

This legislation eliminates that right. It restricts your ability to use your own property as you see fit. It demands that you give up the option to legally enforce your rights as a landowner.

Make no mistake, a vote for these bills will not reveal who does or does not support agriculture. My family has been farming in Nebraska for six generations. I raise livestock myself. I am insulted by the charge that I must sacrifice property rights to show that I support agriculture, and you should be too.

Lawmakers in each state have a difficult choice. They are under pressure from companies with a lot of money and power. But, don’t cut them any slack. Making the right choice when faced with a tough decision is what we elected them for. Now, we find out whether they have the courage to do so.

Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.

By Johnathan Hladik

Center for Rural Affairs