Fayette Advertiser readers respond to proposed Senate Bill 391

To the Editor: 

I am strongly opposed to Senate Bill 391.

I have been in the cattle business in excess of 45 years. I own operate and live on a 734 acre farm located east of Armstrong in Howard County.

Health Ordinance

1) During 2018 an out of state CAFO attempted to establish an 8,000 to 10,000 head Hog Farrowing Operation near the town of Armstrong in Howard County.

2) I, together with other citizens of Howard County held meetings, signed petitions, met with our County Commissioners and convinced them to adopt a common sense Health Ordinance that protects our air and water quality as well as property values.

3) In the summer of 2018, the County Commissioners ask the citizens of Howard County to vote on whether to support or negate the Health Ordinance. The result was that 58% of the voters supported the Health Ordinance and it passed in all nine (9) precincts.

I have noticed representatives of the Howard County Cattlemen’s Association and the Missouri Cattle Assn. coming out in opposition to Howard County’s Health Ordinance and in support of Senate Bill 391. This is under the pretext that someone one day may want to build a large cattle feeding operation in Howard County.  That makes no sense; constructing an efficient cattle feedlot requires an investment of several million dollars plus customers willing to keep enough cattle on feed to allow the feedlot to be profitable. Then the supposed feedlot would be required to ship the finished cattle several hundred miles to be processed at a Beef Packing Plant.  

The Health Ordinance supported by the voters of Howard County in 2018 is actually in place to regulate large 8,000 to 20,000 head hog operations. The companies attempting to establish a foothold for Hog Operations in Howard County are not Missouri based.  Ownership is out of state and very well can be from a foreign country, i.e. China.  For example the largest Hog Operation in the U.S. is Smithfield Foods and Smithfield has been sold to a Chinese Company. You may recognize that brand (Smithfield) in grocery stores and assumed it was a U.S. company.

Another thing I want to point out about CAFO’s

1) They are predominantly owned by Out of State Investors:

2) Their facilities are as highly mechanized as possible.  They do not hire a lot of people with substantial payrolls. Mostly entry level jobs at or near minimum wage.

3) By design these operators are not very profitable and do not generate a material amount of taxable income for the State, but their impact on roads and bridges is substantial.

They have a significant negative impact on:

a) Land Values

b) Farm residences

c) Contaminate water and pollute the air

d) Disrupt  the quality of life.

One simple question to ask yourself, if these operations are so wonderful and positive for an agricultural community and or state: WHY are they so anxious to establish them here in Missouri rather than in their own home states.

As a citizen of Howard County with Common Sense values I want to ask if you actually agree that taking away the local authority to govern ourselves and transferring the power to Jefferson City or for that matter Washington D.C. is the correct thing to do. I say NO. I ask that you contact our state senators and ask them to vote against Senate Bill 391.

George Feaster, 

Beef Producer,

Past President Western Beef, Inc. Feedlot capacity (217,000 head of cattle),

Past Chair United States Meat Export Federation,

Past Director:

National Cattlemen Beef Association,

National Livestock and Meat Board,

Texas Cattle Feeders Associatio

To the Editor: 

Recent letters submitted by the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association in support of Missouri Senate bill SB 391 clearly exposes their ignorance when it comes to health security for citizens of Howard County.  Their tactics are well scripted but misleading. They advance the fear concept that Public Health Policies are going to prevent their personal future financial gains. Their scripted tactics are not supported by any science or experience and only promote unrealistic anxiety.

This Senate bill and a similar bill in the House (HB951) is meant to provide total freedom from any health benchmarks for large scale industrial farms otherwise known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), 50% of which are owned by Chinese and Brazilian corporations. 

The real danger lies in an environment of no preventative health standards much like the days before our understanding how diseases are caused and spread like tuberculosis, sexually transmitted disease, polio, tetanus and the corporate denial of cigarette related illnesses. Because of these unregulated industries in states like Iowa and North Carolina we are now seeing increasing scientific reports of the spread of drug resistant microorganisms, respiratory illnesses, increased mortality and loss of our dearly needed ground water in neighborhoods nears CAFOs.

Lobbying groups like the Missouri Farm Bureau tout improved technological advances in animal husbandry. While they may contribute to society via production of some necessary or desired good, as our population increases, we are rapidly becoming more aware of the impact on our own human health and our water resources. Increased meat production will be outweighed by an unhealthy community. That is why we must be able to set applicable health rules in our communities.

For these undeniable reasons, our senate and legislature must defeat Senate Bill 391 and House Bill 951 and allow communities to protect the health of their citizens. 

Everett Murphy M.D.

Corva Murphy

Cooper County

To the Editor: 

Two years ago our County Commissioners put in place a Health Ordinance requiring stricter regulations then what the DNR currently requires for operating a CAFO. This past August the citizens of Howard County voted to keep that Health Ordinance in place by a wide margin. Since that vote the large hog operations, CAFOs, have shown no interest in setting up shop in Howard County. Senate Bill 391 would take away our local power to govern our County in the manner that is best for our community. Three of our local cattle farmers have expressed concern that our Health Ordinance will prevent them from expanding their operations. The current Health Ordinance allows a farmer to have 299 cattle on one acre, The Missouri State DNR regulations allow for thousands of live stock on one acre. I am quite confident that our County Commissioners will work with our local farmers to ensure they continue to grow and expand. 

The Farm Bureau, Pork Producers, Cattleman’s Association, Smithfield, just to name a few, would lead us to believe they are for the local farmer. Yet they are lobbying to promote the passage of Senate Bill 391. These large companies and organizations are not for our local farmers, they only see dollar signs. If this bill passes it will allow the CAFOs to come pouring into all of Missouri. The large hog CAFOs ran the small pork producer out of business. Will the beef farmers be next? We must continue to fight and maintain our local control. Please take a minute and call the following Senators and ask them to vote NO on Senate Bill 391. This vote will be coming up at the Capitol in the next couple of weeks.

Senator Mike Bernscoetter. 

573 751 2076

Senator Denny Hoskins. 

573 751 4302

Senator Sandy Crawford 

573 751 8793

Senator Justin Brown 

573 751 5713

Senator Cindy O’Laughlin 

573 751 7985

Senator Jason Holsman 

573 751 6607

Senator Kiki Curls 

573 751 3158

Senator John Rizzo 

573 751 3074

Help us keep our local control,

 Vickie Gassman

Armstrong

 

 

Leave a Comment