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Missouri State control over farming draws protest

29 January 2007

MISSOURI - The state could have the last word in deciding the number and types of plants and animals farmers can raise.

Those types of issues now often are decided at the local level, and the state oversight focuses more on water and air pollution.

But with more than 30 local health and zoning ordinances targeting large livestock farms they blame for odors, dirty water and falling property values, some of the state’s largest farming groups are fighting back.

On their side is Gov. Matt Blunt, who in his State of the State speech a few days ago decried "unreasonable ordinances" designed to drive farmers out of business.

Blunt endorsed a Senate proposal that supporters say clears the regulatory air. The bill limiting local ordinances that regulate farms also would bar trespassing lawsuits against agricultural businesses.

Supporters of the legislation contend the local ordinances have been prompted by phantom concerns and have Balkanized Missouri’s rules for farming.

"What we’re seeing is a real hodgepodge of varying regulations beginning to crop up around the state, and it really limits and restricts agriculture, limits and restricts rural economic growth. And that really affects people who are going into farming," said Don Nikodim, an executive for the Missouri Pork Association.

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Source: Columbia Daily Tribune

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