Right To Farm Question Stirs Fears About Oklahoma Waters

Tuesday, May 31st 2016, 5:17 pm
By: Grant Hermes

In the heat of an Oklahoma summer water is king. And fears over a lack of it aren't far behind. Those same concerns are at the heart of the controversy over Oklahoma's state question 777 named Right to Farm.

If passed the question would amend the state constitution heavily limiting state oversight on any farming practice, which opponents say could include the use and ownership of water used in farming.

“We have serious concerns that foreign-owned giant corporations really care about Oklahoma's water,” Mickey Thompson said.

Thompson is the executive director of the new anti-SQ777 group Oklahoma Food, Farm and Family.

Opponents of Right to Farm say it gives large farming corporations the ability to claim ownership of state water sources for use in farming or ranching without any accountability to keep it clean or safe to drink. Many of those sources would also be used by cities and towns for water supply, according to Thompson

“The leaders in our cities and towns are very concerned about what this constitutional amendment could do to not only the quality of the water in Oklahoma, but who owns it,” he said.

“This has absolutely nothing to do with ownership of water or sale of water or any of the rest of it. So anyone that's reading that into the question is looking for a boogeyman that doesn't exist,” Oklahoma Pork Council Executive Director, Roy Lee Lindsey said.

Supporters, like Lindsey, of Right to Farm say they're farmers too and they need clean water just as much as anyone else.

“The farmers and ranchers that I know, the folks that I work with every day are trying to do things the right way,” Lindsey said. “They're trying to take care of their animals, they're trying to take care of their environment and I think they deserve some protection.”