The Missouri Rural Crisis Center is disappointed the state Senate has passed a bill that would protect large livestock feeding operations, known as CAFOs, from county regulations that are stricter than state regulations. Tim Gibbons says there is a “huge outpouring” of opposition to proposed protections on CAFOs.
“We know that DNR (Department of Natural Resources) cannot and will not protect us from these absentee controlled operations,” he tells Brownfield Ag News. “So local control is one way that farmers and people in rural counties have been able to put safeguards on these type of operations to protect the property rights, the property values, the water and air, the livablity of our communities from industrial livestock operations.”
Gibbons says the state should be standing up for Missouri’s nearly 100,000 family farms – not the roughly 500 CAFOs. He says the voices of Missouri’s independent farmers and property owners are not as valued as corporate lobbyists working for industrial agriculture.
“In just under two weeks, both the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and the Missouri Pork Association have hired seven new lobbyists to walk the halls of the Capitol,” says Gibbons. “We see firsthand what that type of influence has in our statehouse.”
Bill sponsor, Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, says the proposal would benefit family farmers and large animal feeding operations. He says he wants a statewide policy, instead of a hodge podge of local restrictions.
The measure, Senate Bill 391, heads to the House. Two weeks remain in the regular session of the Missouri Legislature.
By Julie Harker of Brownfield Ag News