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.
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.
Past President Western Beef, Inc. Feedlot capacity (217,000 head of cattle),
Past Chair United States Meat Export Federation,
National Cattlemen Beef Association,
National Livestock and Meat Board,
Texas Cattle Feeders Association