The Missouri House of Representatives has given final approval to Senate Bill 391, legislation that would prevent counties from passing health ordinances aimed at large agricultural operations.
The House voted 103-44 to approve the bill, which would prevent county health boards or county commissioners from passing standards stricter than state law. The Missouri House of Representatives website shows area state representatives who voted in favor of the bill include Rusty Black, J. Eggleston, Danny Busick, and Allen Andrews who are all Republicans. Republican State Representative Jim Neely was absent with leave.
Critics of concentrated animal feeding operations, known as CAFOs, oppose the bill citing they worry about water quality and odors. Bill supporters say it ensures Missouri uses the latest science, so animals are raised in healthy environments and water and air remain clean.
The Missouri Farm Bureau, as well as Missouri Cattlemen’s, Pork, Soybean, and Corn Growers associations, released a joint written statement following the final approval of Senate Bill 391. The groups called the approval “good for Missouri’s farms and communities” and said, “Missouri farms should be governed by science-based rules and expert oversight, not reactionary fear mongering.”
The statement went on to say that the groups “are pleased” Governor Mike Parson “has indicated his support for this legislation.” The group in favor of the legislation believe that once the bill becomes law, “Missouri farmers and ranchers will have consistent rules to play by that will provide opportunities for young and old…to be involved in agriculture and stay on the family farm.”