This letter is in response to David Sater's Capitol Straightalk, published in the March 2 edition of the Cassville Democrat.
Once again, David has confused family farmers and corporate farms. Family farms are farms where farmers or ranchers own their livestock, purchase their equipment, raise or purchase feed for their livestock, harvest and then sell what they produce. These farmers and ranchers are not paying out big money from lawsuits. These farmers are good neighbors to the people around them. Since the beginning of time, family farmers have been the backbone to this country and this state.
Now why, after hundreds of years would David Sater and some other politicians in Jefferson City think we need to protect them; what has changed? Nothing has changed with the family farmer.
I'll tell you what has changed, we now have corporate farming where large corporations put a staggering numbers of animals in small areas. The livestock belongs to the corporations, and they find people willing to put Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) on their land. These corporations are concerned about the almighty dollar and have little regard for the land or the people around them.
Many hog CAFOs have gone up over the last 20 years in central Missouri. The family farmers have been driven out of their homes from the smell, insects, contaminated wells and run off in their ponds killing fish. The only recourse these farmers have is through the court system.
The court decisions have financially impacted the corporations and have also forced expensive technology changes to their factories. The cheapest way out for the corporations is to lobby Missouri senators and representatives to introduce new bills to protect them.
In the fourth quarter of 2010, Tyson spent $637,884 to lobby. That would be over $2.5 million per year. This is just one corporation, so what about Cargill, Premium Standard Farms and others?
Let's make sure of one thing, the family farmers are not the ones being sued by their neighbors. It's the family farmers suing the corporations. If any politician wants to give me a list of the family farmers that have lost money in the court system, I will be glad to give them a list of payouts by corporations.
Jefferson City needs to be more concerned about the family farmer and not so concerned about the lobby money from large corporations.
Eagle Rock, Missouri