FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF CHRISTIAN COUNTY Honorable Laura J.
to sell and distribute raw milk from any Christian County
location of his choosing, Eric Vimont cited Missouri's
constitutional right to farm (Mo. Const. art I, § 35) in
seeking judicial relief from Respondent's order to abate
such activity. He lost on summary judgment and appeals. We
§ 192.300 empowers county commissions and boards of
county health centers to promulgate orders and ordinances to
enhance public health and combat disease, provided such
enactments do not conflict with state rules or regulations.
Citing this statutory authority, the Christian County
Commission ("County Commission") enacted an amended
Food Order ordinance ("CCFO") regulating raw milk
sale and distribution effective January 30, 2012, §
2.05(D) of which stated that:
Producers of retail raw dairy products may sell and take
orders for their product at the physical farm location where
the products are produced and may deliver the product to the
clients [sic] domicile.
CCFO also authorized Respondent to issue orders to abate
conditions that might transmit or promote disease, and
provided an appeal process.
2012, Respondent ordered Vimont to abate his off-premise sale
and distribution of raw milk in violation of CCFO §
2.05. Vimont did not pursue the CCFO appeal procedure.
2014, Missouri voters adopted a "Right to Farm"
constitutional amendment (now Mo. Const. art I, § 35),
That agriculture which provides food, energy, health
benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing
force of Missouri's economy. To protect this vital sector
of Missouri's economy, the right of farmers and ranchers
to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever
guaranteed in this state, subject to duly authorized
powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution
of Missouri. [our emphasis]
cited this in suing Respondent, in 2015, for relief from the
order to abate and CCFO § 2.05. The trial court
eventually granted Respondent summary judgment on multiple
grounds, including that the constitutional right to farm is
not unlimited, but subject to duly authorized article VI
powers, and the CCFO provision at issue was within the duly
authorized powers of the County Commission under article VI
and RSMo § 192.300.
Complaint and Analysis
claims the trial court erred "by upholding
Respondent's Order to Abate, allowing it to overrule
[Vimont's] Right to Farm, guaranteed by Article I,
Section 35 of the Missouri Constitution
…." On this record,
we cannot agree.
repeatedly noted above, Vimont's constitutional farming
rights, whatever they may be, are subject to local-government
powers duly authorized and conferred by article VI of
Missouri's constitution. Mo. Const. art I, § 35. As
relevant here, article VI directs that county
commissions "shall manage all
county business prescribed by law" (§ 7) and for
county powers to be defined by "general laws"
under article VI, the County Commission was authorized to
manage all legal county business, exercising such powers as
the legislature saw fit to delegate or those fairly implied
by powers expressly granted. See Greene County v.
Pennel, 992 S.W.2d 258, 262 (Mo.App. 1999)(citing, among
others, article VI). The legislature saw fit to delegate to
county commissions, via RSMo § 192.300, power to