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Callaway County Commission receives health ordinance

Callaway County Commission receives health ordinance

March 14th, 2018 by Helen Wilbers in Local News

<p>Jenny Gray/FULTON SUN</p><p>Cows relax southwest of Fulton.</p>

The proposed Callaway County health ordinance is now in county commissioners' hands.

Members of the Citizens Health Advisory Committee turned over the completed ordinance Monday, member Jeff Jones said.

"We respectfully request your timely review and recommendations for putting this to the vote of the people," said Leo Patrick Smith, another committee member.

Commissioners now may review the ordinance and choose whether to place it on an upcoming ballot. If commissioners reject the ordinance, it may be resubmitted at a later date, Jones previously said.

The full 35-page ordinance may be viewed at It would establish health regulations for concentrated animal feeding operations including standards for permitting a new CAFO and requirements for construction, operations and waste disposal.

It also would require those applying for a county health permit to establish a CAFO to "demonstrate financial insurance" by obtaining a surety bond or insurance.

CAFOs and animal feeding operations extant in the county if and when the ordinance passes will be grandfathered in and not "subject to any penalties or charges for violations thereof."

According to the advisory committee, this ordinance is necessary to protect health in Callaway County.

"Factory farming creates a 'perfect storm' for the proliferation of drug-resistant bacteria (super bugs): the stress and unsanitary conditions of CAFOs weaken animals' immune systems, making them more susceptible to infection; overcrowding allows disease to spread quickly and easily; and over time, antibiotics can cause resistant strains of bacteria to evolve," Section 1 of the ordinance states.

The ordinance also claims CAFOs may pollute the surrounding air and water, causing respiratory problems for those working and living nearby.

"The mental health of CAFO neighbors appears to suffer as well, mainly because of noxious odors and stress," the ordinance states.

To back those claims and others throughout the ordinance, main drafter Smith cited enough articles and studies to fill five pages of Appendix C.

Aside from the requirements for permitting and constructing a CAFO, the ordinance would establish a CAFO Review Commission at the Callaway County Health Department to permit and license new CAFOs, review site compliance and fine non-compliant CAFOs.

The Citizens Health Advisory Committee initially was formed in May by Callaway County commissioners to review a draft ordinance proposed by Commissioner Roger Fischer. On Jan. 11, committee members Kenny Brinker, Tim Safranski and Josh Lehenbauer resigned, stating the committee had come to a standstill and could not resolve differences of opinion.

This prompted a public hearing. In late January, commissioners voted 2-1 to dissolve the committee. Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann told non-resigned members they were welcome to continue meeting as an unofficial citizen committee.

Committee members finished the review process in mid-February.