Citizen says CAFOs threaten tourism

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dear Editor:

Private citizen offers "No safe water, no fish, no tourism" in response to Farm Bureau president's letter to the editor entitled "Some food for thought."

What Charles Kruse, president of Missouri Farm Bureau, doesn't tell you is that the Missouri Farm and Food Preservation Act of 2007 (MFFPA) will take away individual counties' rights to enact additional regulations they deem necessary to protect unique situations not protected by existing laws and regulations. Such as the proposed 65,600-bird poultry operation to be located just outside Roaring River State Park, near Roaring River and Table Rock Lake.

Also, what he calls "frivolous nuisance lawsuits," such as the one against a large poultry processor in McDonald County that had a multi-million dollar out-of-court settlement for the pollution and damage caused to Honey Creek, Elks River and on into Grand Lake in Oklahoma.

The Farm Bureau doesn't think the citizens of Barry County or any other county in Missouri should have the right to say where industrialized poultry houses with huge populations of birds (confined animal feeding operations - CAFOs) should or should not be located. There is very little regulation in place by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources who has only four inspectors for 25 counties in southwest Missouri. CAFOs can be placed all along Roaring River, Table Rock Lake and all around the city limits of Cassville and its many streams or any other municipality.

As it stands now, there is no stopping them, no matter what the objections of the affected citizens. As the president of the Missouri Farm Bureau states, 16 counties in Missouri have found existing regulations inadequate and have built upon them for the protection of the health and safety of their citizens. The passage of MFFPA would void those already put in place, not to mention the effect these operations would have on tourism at Roaring River State Park and Table Rock Lake.

Let's call these CAFOs what they are and not hide behind the smoke screen of traditional family farms. They are an industry and should be regulated as such. I urge the citizens of Barry County to contact their legislators and tell them the passage of MFFPA would degrade the quality of life in our state and is not in the best interest of the citizens of Missouri.

Respectfully submitted,

Mark Stephenson

Joplin, Missouri