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Ronda Findlay

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

Cole County is heading directly toward a dangerous deadline. On Aug. 28, 2019, Senate Bill 391 will become law. This bill pertains to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and was introduced and promoted by Sen. Mike Bernskoetter. CAFOs are industrial livestock operations that create millions of gallons of waste due to a very large number of animals packed into a small area. Hence the term “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation.” This leads to the degradation of our air and water, decreases property values and impacts the health and livelihood of our community. Additionally, these factory farms create undue stress on independent family farms.

The citizens of Cole County should know that, at this time, we have no protection from the negative impacts of CAFOs in our community. That is why our county commissioners need to work quickly to put a health ordinance in place before Aug. 28.

Twenty counties in the state of Missouri have health ordinances to help protect themselves from these operations, including common sense restrictions on CAFOs regarding location setbacks from homes, populated areas, wells and water sources.

According to the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Missouri now has 500 CAFOs. In Iowa 15 years ago, a similar CAFO law was passed. Now Iowa has 10,000 CAFOs in the state and they also have over 700 waterways that have been contaminated because of them.

Iowa studies revealed that children living next to CAFOs have higher rates of asthma than do other farm children; and that 19.7 percent of children who attend schools near CAFOs had asthma, while only 7.3 percent of children attending school at least 10 miles from a CAFO had asthma.

CAFOs are targeting Missouri. For example, Pipestone Systems, LLC (a CAFO corporation from Minnesota with ties to China) said in a public meeting that the reason they are targeting Missouri is because we are a “clean state”, i.e. we don’t have the animal disease and dirty water problems that plague states with thousands of CAFOs.

The sad truth is that Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources cannot protect us. State standards are not even close to being sufficient.

Please call your county commissioner today and ask them not to waste any time in getting this ordinance in place. We need to make sure we have some fighting power to keep these CAFOs out of our communities.

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