SB391 hurts Cedar County, opens CAFOs to unspoiled Missouri farm country

In the increasingly divisive political climate we live in, it’s becoming easier for the powers that be to slip things by most of us citizens.

Sensationalizing things, no matter how large or small, has an incredible beneficial smokescreen for the powers that be: hyper-invisibility.

As most of us, whether we’re willing to admit it or not, buy into the fervor of our respective parties and topical issues, what no one can do is let strong reactions blind them to immediate reality taking place on the sidelines.

With the recent passage of SB 391 here in Missouri, let me point out two very relevant issues.

One, it wasn’t by popular vote — a glaringly obvious observation, yes, but worthy of mention.

Sure, I know how our current legislature is structured. Everyone should. I’m pointing that out because it’s something which affects every individual here in Missouri now and for generations to come. Simply put, We the People had zero voice in it.

And, two, it had overwhelming bipartisan support.

So what, right?

Folks, red and blue can’t agree on anything today.

Just ask yourself this one question: Why did so many of these divided, argumentative and vehemently opposed elected officials magically agree on this topic?

The answer is simple: Corporate money — in this case, some of it with foreign origins to boot.

All you have to do is look at a few campaign contributions and see which companies support candidates backing the measure, then verify where they have other holdings.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist. Elvis really is dead. We have walked on the moon. The earth is round. All that good stuff.

But, you can’t give me gravy and tell me it’s jelly, because gravy ain’t sweet.

There’s no massive influx of jobs associated with this and there’s no way SB 391 will increase on-the-hoof or hanging prices of beef or pork.

And, don’t even get me started on the ecological impact.

Do you want a thousand head of cattle within smelling distance of your front door? I don’t think so.

Do you want the waste of a few thousand hogs filtering through the neighboring hillside into your creek, pond or well? Of course not.

Speaking to the mechanics of the bill’s language, it stamps out almost all semblances of county sovereignty. It blatantly strips individual decisioning power regarding concentrated animal feeding operations and a number of county health regulations from the very people elected to perform said tasks.

A few requirements or controls at the state level are definitely understandable — checks and balances are always necessary to a certain extent. However, the reach of this bill casts a state-wide shadow over most facets of local control counties have (or used to have) regarding CAFOs.

The ripple effect this will have on smaller farmers like myself is formidable — it also dramatically handicaps a person’s ability to become a beef or hog farmer before they even attempt to start.

Anyone saying the opposite is simply wrong, lying or both.

Personally speaking, I don’t know a single farmer financially capable of instantly meeting the production guidelines or ecological and agricultural guidelines SB 391 can potentially impose.  

And, until now, we lived in a state where these matters could be governed and decided upon at a county level by elected commissioners who are in tune with local reality and know the daily and seasonal needs of their own areas.

We the People just sat here and watched our respective local county’s ability to control a number of aspects regarding CAFOs get sold to the highest bidder, then had the legislation spun back to us as if we’re the lucky ones experiencing some great financial or industrial windfall.

Was this a victory? Yes, but not for anyone supporting their family a as beef or hog farmer.  

But, it does speak to how collectively blind we can all be and how well sensationalized smokescreens really work.

I’ll freely admit this one almost slipped right past me. And, I wish I had been madder about this months ago.

We the People just got hoodwinked and bamboozled on a state level while we’re being bombarded with the divisive narrative of collusion, abortion and immigration issues.

We lost. Not just those who lean blue, not just those lean red — every single one of us lost something here — control of what essentially amounts to our respective county’s final say in the local agriculture game.

Where that goes from here or how fast the quagmire of problems SB 391 can cause becomes evident is anyone’s guess.

But, no matter what side of the fence you’re on, this particular stack of paper that just landed on Gov. Mike Parson’s desk stinks just like the hind end of a thousand steers.

Maybe Jefferson City smells much the same and our politicians just thought we’d never notice.

I encourage everyone who reads this to contact your local county commissioner, state representative or the office of the governor and voice your disdain for what the suits in the capital are truly doing to Missouri farmers and our countryside.

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