Fight over proposed hog farm continues in mid-Missouri

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CALLAWAY COUNTY – The group Friends of Responsible Agriculture is continuing to fight a proposed hog farm from being built in Callaway County. FORAG is awaiting the results from the Cole County judicial court next month, after filing a lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Clean Water Commission.

FORAG has appealed to the Missouri DNR to stop a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, or CAFO, from being built near Fulton.

“We oppose this hog CAFO because we are very aware of the potential hazards that this has. Not just to our natural resources but to the community around us,“ Jeff Jones, president of FORAG and neighbor of the proposed site said. 

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources approved the permit last October for Callaway County Farrowing, LLC to build the CAFO.

The CAFO will house 10,000 sows. Jones said his main concern is pollution to nearby natural resources from excess hog manure. 

“We’re trying to make decisions not just based on the dollar but based on everything that’s tied to being stewards of the soil,” Jones said.

According to Missouri Rural Crisis Center Communications Director Tim Gibbons, in the last 30 years Missouri has lost 90 percent of its hog farmers. That's a loss of more than 20,000 farms.

Gibbons said it's because large corporations have monopolized the farming industry, leaving no room for family farms.

“I think the solution is an open, fair and competitive marketplace, one in which farmers can compete. Right now there is little to no competition because the marketplace has been monopolized,” Gibbons said.

However Mark Campbell, an employee at Triumph Foods in St. Joseph, said large corporations running the meat production industry keeps America competitive in an international market.

Campbell said most meat comes from large corporations because that’s just how it’s done. The CAFO is simply part of the element of food production.

“If you choose to eat meat, that’s where meat comes from. It’s not something odd. It’s not a trend. It’s just how it’s been done,” Campbell said.

Both the Missouri DNR and Callaway Farrowing, LLC declined to comment to KOMU.

Jones and the members of FORAG are waiting to hear the judicial court’s decision on if the operating permit will continue.

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