Moniteau County health board hears both sides of CAFO proposal

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CALIFORNIA - Moniteau County is considering regulations for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) that are more restrictive than state law. The proposal is a copy of current regulations for Howard County. 

This would include a restriction on the distance that farmers could disperse animal waste on their property. It is currently regulated on a state and national level, but proposed restrictions would surpass those statutes. 

Community members and farmers filled the conference room in the local health center late this afternoon.  Others had to peer through windows to join. 

Davin Althoff is a farmer in southern Moniteau County.  He said state regulations have been enough.

"Truthfully there hasn't been any concern with water quality in Moniteau County related to farming practices and we do a really good job at the farm to make sure we protect our environment for future generations." 

He says they want to ensure there is a farm to come back to for future generations. 

Darrell Hendrickson who is an environmental specialist for Moniteau County says their research group has been looking into options for regulations and the Howard County ordinance had certain things they really liked.

He said it includes: increased set back distances, ability to permit these facilities, and creating a hold of money in the case environmental cleanup is ever needed.

When asked if tonights meeting has changed Hendrickson's views on his regulations, "somewhat, yes." Hendrickson said they will need to revisit setback distance and the size of farms they are targeting with the ordinance.

"If there's an alternative to do this, to actually protect the water, protect the air,without an ordinance I'd be willing to listen to anyone that's got some ideas."

Going from here, Althoff says, "we're going to pursue conversations with the health board and the advocates for this and try to find a way we can do this without implementing a county health ordinance." 

The meeting concluded with the board agreeing to table the issue until their next meeting in July. They plan to take into account venue for the next meeting to host everyone that shows. A community board was created with representatives from both sides for next meeting. 

With the passing of HB 391 by the state, this ordinance must be passed before August 28th or it will surpass local authority to regulate heavier than state statutes.