It has been a little over one year since Iowa-based Eichelberger Farms, LLC, a large-scale industrialized pork producer, announced plans to construct farrowing and gilt-development facilities (approximately 7,600 adult females and 2,700 gilts plus 8-10 piglets per sow) on a 20-acre parcel in north Callaway County.
Each adult pig produces 4-8 times the amount of feces of a human. Since that announcement, a grass-roots organization, Friends for Responsible Agriculture, has worked hard to keep the public informed on the potential hazards of these types of industrial agricultural operations.
There are a number of existing hog confinement operations, commonly referred to as confined animal feeding operations (CAFO), in Callaway County. My intent is not to denigrate these operations but to raise the awareness of the consequences of new facilities moving into the county and the state.
Iowa is the top pork producing state. A cursory search on animal waste pollution in the state reveals the reason why Iowa pork producers are moving into Missouri - they have worn out their welcome in Iowa. It is interesting to note that North Carolina moved up to the number two spot for hog operations in a matter of a few years which resulted in the North Carolina legislature instituting a moratorium on new facilities due to pollution. Missouri and especially Callaway County need to assess the experiences of other states.
We Missourians are blessed with abundant, predominantly clean-water resources. Do we really want to risk those resources so a few mega corporations can reap relatively short-term profits and then leave the state with polluted lands and streams?
A growing concern in research is the sociological impact on communities that are impacted by CAFOs. No statutes or regulations consider the sociological impact and only address "clean water" issues.
In addition, no regulations exist to control the foul smell and medical complications associated with CAFOs. It is time to learn from others' experience.
I encourage you to discuss the issue with your county commissioners (who in Callaway County have been ambivalent to date) and your state legislative representatives. Based on the North Carolina experience and events occurring in Iowa and other states, perhaps it is time to place a moratorium on new CAFO construction in Missouri before it is too late.
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