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Missouri CAFO Bill Passes House, Send to Governor for Signature
Missouri Ag Connection - 05/15/2019

The Missouri House on Tuesday voted mostly along party lines to pass Senate Bill 391 and send it on to Gov. Mike Parson for his signature.

Supporters of the bill said it limits how stringent county ordinances, rules and regulations for confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) may be said the bill helps promote the state's agricultural industry.

It creates a consistent statewide regulatory framework for CAFOs, allowing agriculture in Missouri to flourish, they contend.

It reflects positive controls by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state Department of Natural Resources.

Among other things, the bill:

Prohibits any orders, ordinances, rules or regulations set by county commissions and county health center boards from being more strict than any provisions of law, rules or regulations relating to the state Natural Resources and Health and Senior Services departments, including environmental controls, air conservation and water pollution.

Creates the Joint Committee on Agriculture to study the economic impact of Missouri's agricultural industry in the state, as well as the industry's ongoing efforts to improve environmental stewardship and improve its economic sustainability; ways to create incentives that encourage members of the industry to adopt best practices, to address Missouri's carbon footprint scientifically; and to get Missouri residents' views on agricultural issues.

In a case of "things are upside down," Democrats argued for more local control and Republicans for state and federal control.

Democrats argued 20 counties already have implemented ordinances that regulate CAFOs. The legislation should be blocked because local officials know best how to represent local interests.

Missouri agriculture groups issued a joint statement on final passage of the bill.

The Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Cattlemen's Association, Missouri Pork Association, Missouri Soybean Association and Missouri Corn Growers Association wrote:

"The Missouri legislature's final approval of Senate Bill 391 is good for Missouri's farms and communities. This bill will ensure we use the latest science so that our animals are raised in healthy environments and our water and air remain clean. Missouri farms should be governed by science-based rules and expert oversight, not reactionary fear mongering. The uniform regulations required by SB 391 will provide certainty to farmers and ranchers in every corner of our state.

"This bill is an excellent example of legislating for the good of all Missourians. Groups representing all aspects of agriculture worked cooperatively to resolve this issue in a manner that is good for all sides. Senator Bernskoetter, Representative Haffner, and House and Senate leadership showed their strong support for agriculture throughout the process. The legislature adopted amendments ensuring nutrient management is more comprehensively regulated and communities are notified of new or expanding facilities.

"We are pleased that Governor Parson has indicated his support for this legislation. Once this language becomes law, Missouri farmers and ranchers will have consistent rules to play by that will provide opportunities for young and old alike to be involved in agriculture and stay on the family farm."

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