Compromise is no better than original

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to the April press release from Charles E. Kruse, president of Missouri Farm Bureau.

Mr. Kruse let us tell it as it really is. You and your organization use the term "farm family" loosely. The true family farmers are the dedicated individuals that toil, work the land and respect their neighbors as they have throughout history, and are the backbone of our agricultural system in our state and country. You are advancing the cause of corporate agriculture, industrial farms, concentrated animal feeding organizations (CAFOs) at their expense.

You are supporting legislation that takes away local control and authority of local elected representatives to protect the health, welfare and property rights of true farmers and landowners.

Mr. Kruse you state "our coalition has reached an agreement with the Missouri Association of Counties (MAC) on a major revision of SB 364, the Farm and food Preservation Act." The fact is that most county commissions were never notified. Instead a "task force," which you strongly influence, made that decision, not the county commissions.

You list ridiculous examples of unjustified lawsuits. Why not tell the truth about the adverse health side effects on people that have been exposed to CAFO operations. Check medical clinics and health departments that are aware. Check the lawsuits in Prairie Grove, Ark., that were brought about because of health problems related to poultry CAFOs and the spreading of chicken litter. By the way, CAFOs do smell.

You do make a true statement that 16 counties have adopted county health ordinances for regulating agriculture (CAFOs). I wonder why? Could it be that's the only way that the people could react to health issues and such rapid expansion?

As for the compromise of SB 364. It is worse than the original Senate bill. Mr. Kruse you again fail to tell it like it is. The "new CAFO Review Board" that you mention would be a farce. The new board as proposed in the compromise bill consists of five persons. One representative designated by MAC, one representative of the Department of Agriculture, one representative of DNR, one representative from the University of Missouri (Agriculture Department?) and one representative of the Missouri agriculture community to be appointed by the governor. Come on Mr. Kruse this must be a joke.

You fail to mention the $2,000,000 of our tax money, which will be issued as tax credits - per year for five years for the purpose of "incenting" the installation of reasonably available "odor control technology." Another joke?

The fact is Mr. Kruse, there are a great number of people that agree with me, that we do need to be concerned about protecting local control of our elected officials, health, welfare, property rights through legal challenges and our environment.


Charles Brown

Eagle Rock, Missouri