Tipton East has received its state permit to operate as a concentrated animal feeding operation in rural Cooper County.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has issued a Class IC State No-Discharge operating permit to PVC Management II LLC’s Tipton East facility, located on Renshaw Drive near Clarksburg. Department staff reviewed the application for completeness and compliance with the Missouri Clean Water Law and the Missouri Clean Water Commission regulations.
According to the application, the operation would consist of a gestation building housing 4,704 sows, a farrowing building housing 1,080 sows, and a gilt-development unit for 1,620 females weighing more than 55 pounds, and 324 nursery pigs.
The CAFO would be created and operated by Minnesota company Pipestone System, the third-largest hog producer in the United States. It manages the farrowing operation and facilities of more than 70 sow farms owned by about 450 individual farmers, most of which are housed in Minnesota and Iowa. Pipestone System representatives have said five of these companies intend to invest in Tipton East, one owning the land and the others receiving annual portions of an expected 160,000 weaned piglets, estimated at a value of $6.4 million.
Industry groups like the Missouri Pork Association embraced the CAFO to increase state agricultural production. Some area farmers also embraced the project as a source of manure fertilizer, among other reasons.
Missouri Pork Association Executive Director Don Nikodim said several nearly identical operations already exist throughout the state.
“To date, they’ve all been very successful additions to those communities, and we anticipate this one to be the same,” he said.
Eric Bohl, Missouri Farm Bureau’s director of public affairs and advocacy, said the farm advocacy organization does not get involved with individual CAFO permit applications, but as long as the applicant followed the procedures and fulfilled the requirements, permits should not be arbitrarily withheld.
Other rural residents, such as members of Opponents of Cooper County CAFOs, LLC, (OCCC) stood against Tipton East, citing fears of water contamination, local health risks, decreasing residential property values and other factors.
DNR said any parties adversely affected or aggrieved by the department’s decision can appeal to the Administrative Hearing Commission by filing a written petition by July 19.
OCCC leader Fred Williams said he intends to file an appeal and continue fighting against the project for as long as possible. Among his key concerns are two wells, members of the opposition group have said, are buried on the property. DNR officials have said the buried wells will not be problematic, but the OCCC fears it could lead to water table contamination if manure were to leak into them.
The final operating permit and additional information is available at dnr.mo.gov/env/wpp/cafo/ or by contacting Gorden Wray at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Water Protection Program, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176. Wray can also be contacted by telephone at 522-9920 or (800) 361-4827 and by email at email@example.com.