A public forum is scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, in the second-floor courtroom at the Cedar County Courthouse to discuss Senate Bill 391, recently signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson.

The law establishes statewide parameters of environmental controls for concentrated animal feeding operations and appear to be less stringent and far more corporate-friendly than measures previously adapted by the Cedar County Commission.

Speakers include Peggy Kenney, former county clerk and current treasurer who was actively involved in creating Cedar County’s health ordinance in 2016; Darvin Bentlage, a Barton County farmer/rancher who lives next door to the Murphy hog CAFO; a rural Cedar County landowner with experience living next door to a hog CAFO; Ed Smith, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, St. Louis, who was present at the Senate debate when Gov. Parson stopped the overnight filibuster; and Tim Gibbons and Brian Smith, Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Columbia, who will cover many associated topics, such as recent legislative history leading up to the bill’s passage, foreign corporate ownership of Missouri farmland, the Department of Natural Resources’ lack of authority to protect from water and air pollution, CAFOs classified as permanent nuisances, “agro-ready” counties, legal remedies/constraints, “export only” CAFO permits and limited liability layers of corporate CAFO ownership.

Attendees can write questions to ask the speakers. Cheryl Marcum will moderate a Q&A session at the end of the forum.

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