LONE JACK, Mo., March 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Lone Jack Neighbors for Responsible Farming appreciate that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has agreed to hold a public hearing on the proposed expansion of a Contained Animal Feeding Organization (CAFO) located three miles east of Lone Jack. The planned CAFO will include a slaughterhouse, rendering, retail meat market, and dry manure sales at the site. The hearing, open to the public, will be held on Tuesday, April 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Warrensburg Community Center, 445 E. Gay Street, Rooms B and C.
Public comments must be received or postmarked by 5:00 p.m. April 2, 2018 and must include the permit number MOG010872.
Email comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail comments to Department of Natural Resources, Water Protection Program, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102 ATTN: NPDES Operating Permits/Permit Comments.
Neighbors are greatly concerned about the effect this animal factory will have on creeks, ponds and lakes in the community, given the estimated 106,212 tons of manure to be produced in an enclosed facility that houses up to 6,999 cattle. No CAFO/slaughterhouse/meat market exists like this in the state of Missouri, and there are only two Class 1A or 1B cattle CAFO – in Randolph County and Chariton County. The biggest difference between those two CAFOs and this one is the density of nearby population. There are more than 880 homes located within three miles of the proposed Valley Oaks expansion. The Lone Jack Neighbors for Responsible Farming are concerned over potential effects from a CAFO's output into water and the resulting health and environmental impacts. The group believes there is a favorable regulatory environment for these operations.
"My family has been farming here for more than a hundred years," said Jack Wilkinson, himself a cattle farmer, whose century farm abuts the CAFO property. "We are pro-farming, and pro-business. But we also believe in good neighbor practices and being responsible landowners. This animal factory violates those values on many levels."
A Class 1B operation (3,000-to-6,999 head of cattle) is not subject to routine inspections by DNR. The CAFO is mandated to self-report any breach to lagoons, or any waste that enters a waterway within 24 hours. This facility plans to expand in an area of far western Johnson County that is heavily populated for an unincorporated area that continues to experience a population explosion.
"I think Valley Oaks' owner's past actions speak to his future dealings, and even his current mode of operation," said Tasha Stephens, a neighbor who lives within 1.5 miles of the factory, and whose family has lived in the community for eight generations. "He violated the DNR operating permit by not filing a discharge monitoring report in 2017, and in 2007, he was fined $95,000 for five EPA violations while building homes. There's no trust that the factory will operate in an ethical or honest manner. And who cleans up the mess after it's too late? Missouri's taxpayers do, and that's not right."
Per CDC research, the amounts of bacteria entering the air and water from CAFO operation waste have been linked to health hazards:
- Air pollution from CAFOs can be linked to an increase in the risk of asthma, especially for children, and bronchitis. Over time, exposures have been linked to decreased lung function and cardiac arrest.
- Water contaminated by CAFOs can contain E. coli, growth hormones, antibiotics, chemicals used as additives to the manure or to clean equipment, animal blood, silage leachate from corn feed, or copper sulfate used in footbaths for cows.
The Lone Jack Neighbors for Responsible Farming are urging legislators, county officials, lobby groups and especially voters, to research the effects on factory farms to the environment, and think about the future generations of Missourians.
SOURCE Lone Jack Neighbors for Responsible Farming