Neosho CAFO to generate 320 tons of manure daily
April 04, 2005
According to the Missouri Senate Communications Office, the Senate recently approved legislation loosening local and state regulations on large farming operatings. Senate Bill 187, which was referred to the House Agriculture Policy Committee on March 31, 2005, keeps the largest farms in Missouri, defined here as those with more than 17,500 pigs for instance, from being subject to some state regulations. It also limits the application of local health and zoning ordinances on such operations. Under the bill, large farms would be subject only to federal regulations. Large farms would not be required to nofity the public of their establishment any sooner than one day before the farm application is granted. Currently, large farms must notify the public before a permit application can be requested.

SB 187 is sponsored by John Cauthorn (R-18) of Mexico, MO, a member of several committees including the committee associated with Agriculture, Conservation, Parks and Natural Resources. HB376 is CAFO legislation proposed by Jim Guest (R-5) of King City, MO. It appears to have been shelved while the House debates the Senate version of the bill.

We received the following letter, April 2, 2005, from a spokesperson for a group of concerned citizens regarding a proposed major CAFO expansion in Southwest Missouri:

Land O'Lakes ($6 billion sales a year ) is proposing to add 3.2 million caged egg laying hens to an existing caged flock of 1.5 million at the same location outside Neosho. The proposed expansion is alleged to be due to a contract that Land O'Lakes (LOL) has recently entered into with Wal-Mart. The expansion will generate 320 tons of raw manure a day. The jobs typically and historically provided by similar operations in the area are low income, minimum wage, high turnover and of light benefit. The INS regularly rounds up and deports illegal employees who work at these area farms.

The surrounding Elk River Basin is in trouble already and LOL proposes to truck the manure out of the Elk River Basin to someplace??? We expect the trucking the manure out of the area to cease soon after the fuel cost numbers come in to LOL' accountants and shareholders. The concentration of this much manure added to the existing manure produced will increase shallow aquifer contamination to say nothing of surface runoff into streams, lakes and rivers. LOL claims to have a new and revolutionary chicken manure handling system that will have no odor or fly problems for the surrounding residents or community. We believe these claims to be a load of chicken shit. The chicken manure handling system is a French company, SECONOV, and has a very short/unknown track record in other parts of the world and the U.S.

A group of concerned citizens and I, about 250 petition signers, are opposed to this expansion. There is no egg shortage in this area and we do not see a need for the added production just to benefit far off interests and leave us with the pollution and stench. A permit is said to have been approved by the Missouri State Dept. of Natural Resources as of March 23, 2005, with a 30 day comment period to follow. The Missouri DNR refused to hear any opposition or comments prior to permit approval. Only after the approval would they entertain comment. This Neosho expansion was a last ditch choice by LOL because they already have existing 1.5 million caged layers at this location. LOL has tried to obtain permits in NE OK and SE KS previously, but were turned down due to opposition before permit approval. We are trying to elevate awareness of this environmental disaster in the making before it is too late.

Our state representative,( Kevin Wilson, R-130) so far has been of little help or interest. We are working to try and change his attitude. Kevin Wilsonís last job prior to becoming our State Representative was with Moark Productions, LOL local partner company.

LOL and Moark are the third largest egg producer/marketer in the U.S. today. They have other complexes in the area but the Neosho unit is the largest. Moark locally has been operating under a draft permit from the MO DNR for years and never has obtained a full permit. A stack of complaints concerning Moark at the Springfield DNR office measures about a foot thick. The complaint files are so big that they must be viewed in person. MO DNR charges ten cents for each copy of any document and the expense of having a DNR employee watch while copies are made to avoid any 'illegal acts.'

Any help, suggestions or comments would be appreciated. We are running out of time.

Mark Adams


What can we say? Sponsors of the legislation appear to be living on the other side of the state where such an enterprise does not affect them. The background of Rep. Wilson speaks for itself. One wonders what means Missouri assemblymen will use to justify furthering big business. The environment is easily sacrificed in the name of the almighty dollar. Using the excuse that furthering business creates jobs for all Missourians in this case is ludicrous. An advocate for the group would be the W.A. Drew Edmondson,attorney general of Oklahoma who already has threatened litigation with a number of Arkansas poultry companies whose litter is destroying Oklahoma lakes and streams.

For the Missouri DNR response, click here.

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Who's fighting the fight?jean-b205402005-04-04 22:45:07