Letter writer replies to Oct. 5 editorial

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dear Editor:

This is a comment to the Oct. 5th editorial concerning residents vs Ozbun poultry facility.

A community against confined animal feeding operations [CAFOs] is not just a Barry County issue. A northeast Missouri county commissioner correctly warned, "The first thing a CAFO does is divide a community."

As previous articles have been published on this subject, allow me to merely comment the issue is larger than urban/rural folks finding the odor of animal waste an annoyance and threat to their environment. Here's why. Many, many farmers are at odds with the CAFO model and oft find it impossible to compete. The bigger issue is our nation's food supply moving into the economic and corporate realm of a few.

DNR rules are more protective of a CAFO than a neighbor's interest, parks or historical treasures. Some-thing is horribly wrong when a 6,000-sow unit can settle within 2,000 feet of a residence, build on a flood plain, spread waste within a few feet of a neighbor's water source, pummel country roads with their trucks, feign ignorance at waste spills - for rarely are they called "good neighbors."

Corporate animal interests seem to have no money for rectifying their messes or investing in odor control, yet have enormous budgets to woo legislators. Many CAFOs receive farm subsidies and lobby for more of your tax dollars to improve their operations. Even the Farm Bureau (who purports to defend the farmer) have apparently invested in CAFOs and intend to protect their investment at the state level. (Review the 2006-07 legislative session, proposed SB364.)

Thus, Mr. Editor, the issue in Barry County is the tip of a greater issue. Essentially it's the little guy versus very big money, power and persuasion.


Beverly Clinkingbeard

Westboro, Missouri