Big Pig in Missouri

The Daily Yonder has this great article by Richard Oswald. I fully agree and fully oppose this legislation. It is State wide pro CAFO zoning, and I firmly believe that the best way to deal with these issues is at the county level. We have to have intelligence in our decisions and not simply allow corporations to take over the country side by removing our capacity to hold them accountable for their actions.
It is NEVER anyone’s right to destroy your property’s usefulness or value. Local problems are best dealt with locally. Please, if you live in Missouri, if you are interested in Missouri and are for traditional and family farms and property rights, call the proper Senators and Reps and oppose these bills.
They tried this three years in a row in the past and if we don’t stop them, it looks like four is their lucky number.

The Missouri legislature is passing laws that makes the world safe for Big Pig. That means, the world is a lot less safe for the rest of us.

My dad, when he was about 10 years old — back when Big Pig was just a hog.

One of my favorite pictures is one of Dad when he was about 10 years old, standing next to Granddad’s prize hog.

A good caption would be “Are you gonna eat that?’

That’s about the way some of us in Missouri feel about the current CAFO hog craze raging through the Missouri state capitol, Jefferson City. (CAFO, as in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation.) The House and Senate have both passed bills allowing Big Pig CAFO corporations to do just about anything they want.

According to the wisdom of our elected leaders, if a CAFO damages a neighbor, damages are limited to the sale price of the property. Wreck my home and all you have to do is hire an appraiser, get a price and buy me out.

If this had been science fiction instead of a real life story of bad legislation the title would have been “The Hog That Ate Missouri.”

What the Missouri General Assembly affirms is that there’s no such thing as a bad CAFO. If you want to compete with corporations, big or small, or simply live next to them, then you’ll have to do it on their terms even if you were living there first.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a farmer. I’ve had fertilizer of the livestock variety on my boots and I’m not allergic to it. It’s just that what’s going on here is an insult to responsible livestock producers wherever they are.

Whether you like them or not, not every CAFO is all bad. Some facilities are well designed and maintained, placed in just the right spot. Others are chronic bad actors. The good ones don’t deserve to be lumped together with the bad.

But that’s what Missouri has done by taking away the incentive to be good.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch The St. Louis newspaper writes: “State lawmakers have embarked on an unprecedented expansion of government power to intrude on private-property rights.” According to Missouri House Bill 209 and Senate Bill 187, if Big Pig encroaches on my rights, the best I can do after hiring a lawyer and fighting all the way to the Supreme Court, is win the amount they cost me. They’re free to take, and take, and take again, until they’ve taken the full value of my property without ever paying a penalty. If the stink from a Big Pig operation devalues my $200,000 property by $75,000, the CAFO is liable for $75,000. That’s it. No damages.

Once the value of my home is eaten up, I’m fresh out of luck.

When the House and Senate blend the two bills and make them one, about the only hope left is that Governor Jay Nixon, a long time proponent of local control since his Attorney General days, will refuse to sign such stinky political offal into law.

What prompted this bill? Well, last year 15 residents in northwest Missouri sued Premium Standard Farms (a CAFO with a reputation) and won $11 million in damages. PSF is owned by the momma sow, Smithfield, and they site this verdict as evidence that Big Pig needs the overreaching protection of the Missouri legislature. The folks who rendered this lard in Jefferson City say like it or lump it, that’s the way the sausage sizzles.

Look out below, they’re not done yet. The Missouri Senate must now consider SB 278 that would give Big Pig protection against damages under the water laws.

There’s one unanswered question that lingers in the minds of many; Now that Missouri has greased a path for Big Pig pollution that resembles corporate take-all power of eminent domain, and Missouri voters have lost a big slab of their property rights….how big can Big Pig in Missouri grow?

Richard Oswald is a fifth generation Missouri farmer, a regular Yonder columnist and President of the Missouri Farmers Union.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tom Kruzen
    Mar 13, 2011 @ 10:50:15

    The sad thing, Richard, is that while the Republican dominated legislature is preparing to destroy family farmer’s private property rights in these two bills, there are emotional flames being fanned in the Ozarks by the Property Rights Congress and a group called Voices of the Ozarks over a National Heritage Designation for the Ozark Highland Area near Missouri’s National Scenic Rivers. These two groups along with some of our Republican legislators are diverting citizens’ attention from the real land grab.
    In the initial plan for the National Heritage Area, it states:
    “Nothing in this Management Plan shall be construed to
    require any private property owner to permit public access
    (including Federal, State, or local government access) to
    such private property. Nothing in this Management Plan
    shall be construed to modify any provision of Federal,
    State, or local law with regard to public access to or use
    of private lands.”

    It is merely a vehicle to record and save the area’s history, stories and culture before it fades with the death of a generation or two. The NHA does not limit liability of giant industrial corporations when they pollute rural air and water or when their sewage ends up on your property. The bills in the legislature do that and remove true private property rights.

    How convenient for slimy politicians to deceive their constituents about the NHA when they intend to strip citizens and farmers of their private property rights and proceed to damage our common property (air and water)!


  2. truthfarmer
    Mar 13, 2011 @ 11:22:46

    The problem you are having is in staying current and on point, Tom.

    Good Sounding Ag Bills, not so Good===Leading Story on the home page:

    Also, if you read that ridiculous provision you cited above, you realize it doesn’t mean anything. It’s designed to deceive, and has evidently been successful with many.

    The HA is, according to the NPS documents the same as a National Park, and what they (NPS) have done here is figure out how to get the milk for free without buying the cow! They buy the “management entity” and have them do their bidding. So you won’t have to allow access to your property, but what you do on your property will be controlled….ala CEMAT, Council of Europe Spatial and Regional Planning Commission. If you want European land management to rule over you via an unelected, unaccountable board, then please, move to Europe.


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