A huge hog producer in northern Missouri has been given two more years to resolve its odor problem. The Attorney General has reached an agreement with Premium Standard Farms to conclude a case dating back to 1999.
A July 31st deadline passed with Premium Standard Farms failing to install the odor-control equipment required by a 2004 agreement. Attorney General Chris Koster believes PSF will comply this time, because penalties will be assessed if it fails to do so.
“Now, no company is going to eat those kinds of penalties when the other option is simply to apply the modern technology to the barn as required,” Koster tells the Missourinet.
The settlement requires PSF to install barn scrapers and other new technology approved by a special Management Advisory Team in 48 barns by the end of the year. By July 31st of next year, PSF would be required to have the technology installed in 136 barns; at least 230 barns would be equipped by the end of next year with the equipment installed in all 366 barns by July 31st of 2012.
A $2,000 penalty would be levied each day, per barn for the first 30 days of noncompliance. The penalty would increase to $4,000 for the next 30 days and ratchet up to $6,000 if PSF fails to reach compliance in 60 days or more.
Koster says this settlement will bring a case originally brought by then-Attorney General Jay Nixon in 1999 to resolution, improving the environment and saving jobs.
“Hallelujah; absolutely, very excited about that,” PSF Bill Homann reacted when contacted by the Missourinet.
Homann calls the time-line for compliance aggressive, but vows the company will install the $7.5 million in equipment on time. PSF says it has already spent $40 million on environmental improvements, such as lagoon covers and land-application issues. It states efforts to reduce barn odor proved to be the most challenging aspect of complying with the 1999 agreement, which was amended twice, once in 2002 and again in 2004.
The environmental compliance steps should finally resolve a dispute that put in jeopardy the 1,100 PSF jobs in Missouri.
“I think it’s just a great bit of news for our employees and for the economy here in north Missouri,” says Homann.
In addition to the environmental steps, PSF has agreed to donate $1 million to local school and road projects in five northern Missouri counties. PSF will pay $100,000 each to local school funds in Gentry, Daviess, Mercer, Sullivan and Putnam counties. Each of the counties will receive $90,000 for their road funds from PSF, except for Grundy County, which will receive $50,000. Koster says the payments will make up in part for PSF missing the original July 31st deadline.