Dear Editor,

Every time I drive east on Mo. 32 and see the Agri-Ready sign posted at the Polk County line, I wonder how Polk County residents could have allowed Missouri Farmers Care to designate their county a “sacrifice zone,” granting corporate out-of-state, even foreign-controlled agriculture interests the right to destroy their country lifestyles and property values. I think most people don’t know what it means.

A corporate ag driven campaign, Agri-Ready, preceded Senate Bill 391, targeting local control in Missouri counties. It puts our air, water, property and rural families at serious risk from negative impacts caused by industrial livestock operations. Counties designated Agri-Ready have forfeited the authority of their locally-elected county and health commissions to enact common sense protections to protect their communities from factory farms.

In contrast to Cedar County and the other 19 rural counties with health ordinances, Agri-Ready counties like Polk to our east, St. Clair to our north, and Vernon to our west are already operating without protections from the negative impacts of corporate CAFOs: no setbacks, no manure application rules, no regulated air standards. In other words, those counties operate under current state CAFO standards which allow up to 17,499 hogs within 2,000 feet of a residence and an unlimited number of animals located within 3,000 feet of your home, barely over a half mile. State standards allow CAFOs to spray-apply their waste 50 feet from property lines, 300 feet from a drinking water well or spring, and 150 feet from a public use area. State standards do not regulate air quality for CAFOs with less than 7,000 cattle, 17,500 hogs, or 875,000 chicken broilers. State standards require no setbacks between CAFOs and populated areas, and no construction permits. Do our Polk County, St. Clair County, and Vernon County neighbors know this is what their Agri-Ready designation means?

No wonder our Cedar County District 128 Rep. Mike Stephens and District 125 Rep. Warren Love voted for SB 391, they had experience exterminating local control in the counties making up the biggest part of their districts, Polk and St. Clair respectively.

Missouri Farmers Care includes 36 agricultural businesses and organizations promoting and lobbying for corporate ag interests, such as Bayer-Monsanto; Cargill; Brazilian JBS, the world’s largest meatpacker; Missouri Pork Association; Missouri Cattlemen’s Association; and Missouri Farm Bureau.

Cheryl Y. Marcum

Cedar County farm owner

Stockton

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