The state Senate has given initial approval to a measure that would ban Missouri counties from enforcing regulations stricter than the state for large livestock feeding operations. The upper chamber spent about twelve hours on the measure Monday evening and into breakfast time on Tuesday.

Sen. Mike Bernskoetter (R-Jefferson City)

Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, wants to ban counties from restricting where concentrated livestock feeding operations, known as CAFOs, can be built by adopting harsher environmental rules.

“Instead of having a hodge podge of counties with different rules and different ordinances, we’ll have a statewide agricultural policy,” says Bernskoetter.

About 20 Missouri counties have health ordinances for smells and downstream pollution from CAFOs.

Sens. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, and Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit, say local governments should be allowed to decide whether stricter requirements are warranted.

“I’m not anti-CAFO. I mean the efficiency of them is the way things have developed. They’re here to stay. It’s a good way of producing food,” says Cierpiot.

“Well, it’s a more efficient way of producing food. The question is always, well what do you give up in that process? One of the things you do is you provide a cheaper product,” says Schupp.

“I’m just bothered by what we’re trying to do here by pre-empting these counties,” Cierpiot says.

The measure needs one more positive vote to head to the House.

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