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Livestock Farms Bill Before Senate

04 April 2007

JEFFERSON CITY - Lawmakers take up proposal that would affect large operations and their regulation

Large hog farms and chicken farms would face stricter state standards but would see less regulation from counties under a bill the Senate took up for debate Tuesday.

Sen. Chris Koster, a Harrisonville Republican sponsoring the measure, hailed it as a compromise between the interests of agribusinesses and groups arguing for local control.

“This is truly a major step forward with regard to environmental safety,” Koster said. His bill also covers cattle and other large operations.

But critics of SB 364 say it still usurps the ability of local communities to limit large livestock operations and takes away the rights of nearby property owners to sue big farms over odors.

“It does nothing to address the issues that thousands of independent family farmers and rural landowners have raised,” said Tim Gibbons, a spokesman for the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, a Columbia-based group that opposes the bill. “This is not a compromise.”

The issue of the big livestock farms has caused a stir statewide. Platte County has long had a local health ordinance regulating such farms, and residents in historic Arrow Rock are opposing the expansion of a nearby hog farm.

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