Dear Editor,

My name is Carolyn West. I live in Cedar County. I feel we citizens of Missouri are shooting ourselves in the foot by subsidizing factory farms (concentrated animal feeding operation) to the detriment of family farms and farming communities. The hog CAFOs allow meat production levels to rise and the number of agricultural workers to decrease. Huge hog farming operations pollute our air, water and soil. 

U.S. Government guaranteed loans set up the CAFOs. Many are owned by China and Brazil. When they have to be closed down because the manure lagoons are not stable or other reasons, our taxpayer money is again used. The government had to spend $750,000 to get rid of the lagoon after spending $1,500,000 to buy the property for a defunct CAFO. Also, many CAFOs export the hog carcasses to be processed in their country.

Our Cedar County Commissioners are suing you and others, Governor Parson, to have local control of our natural resources. They are farmers and want to protect the property rights of all citizens, as well as our local resources. They have not turned down authorization of any CAFO, but want the right to regulate common sense use of our resources.

Governor Parson, didn’t you rear your children on a family farm? Our young people won’t have the same privilege to give their kids the values of character building life on the farm, enjoyment of fresh air, clean water, and good soil as you had. Making a living on a farm is hard work, and we should be helping those people willing to do it rather than giving so much support to corporate farms, many foreign-owned.

To insure the death of family farms, HB1583 and SB699 are coming to a vote in the legislature to prohibit county commissioners and county health boards from inspecting CAFOs to enforce county health ordinances in response to citizen complaints. 

Citizens, please call the Governor’s office, (573) 751-3222, representative (573) 751-4065 or senator (573) 751-8763 — (please call your own districts if not in Cedar County) — and tell them SB391 and these other bills are unconstitutional and to quit favoring CAFOs against the family farm. 

Also, family farms, not factory farm lobby day 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, at the State Capitol, Jefferson City and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, at the State Capitol, Jefferson City. 

Carolyn West

El Dorado Springs

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