The 2019 legislative session came to an end and clearly demonstrated how willfully out of touch Gov. Mike Parson and our state legislature are with Missourians from every corner of the state and all walks of life.
Thousands of Missourians took action, from all over the state —Democrats and Republicans, rural and urban — generating tens of thousands of emails and phone calls into legislators to stop Senate Bill 391 and this attack on their rights to local control and the ability to protect their property, air and water and communities from the negative impacts of corporate industrial agriculture.
Senate Bill 391 strips Missouri counties of their right to enact commonsense safeguards to protect their communities from the pollution, health impacts and environmental damage caused by corporate-controlled concentrated animal feeding operation.
Twenty Missouri counties currently have health ordinances. Many of them have been in place for decades protecting property rights, health and communities of rural Missourians because DNR rules are totally inadequate to protect them. These ordinances will remain in effect but, after Aug. 28, no future health ordinances dealing with CAFOs can be enacted.
House Bill 951, a bill which sought to ban local elected representatives from inspecting corporate CAFOs in order to enforce local ordinances, was ultimately defeated in this session.
Legislation like Senate Bill 391 is part of a long campaign by corporate agribusiness to corporatize Missouri’s livestock industry.
This is the model that corporate lobbyists pushed for the pork industry, and the results have been devastatingly clear. In one generation, the market for independent producers was literally destroyed: 90% of Missouri pork producers are out of business; consumers now pay 119% more for pork and two foreign corporations now control 50% of the pork industry.
Missouri cannot afford any more of this “vision” for agriculture pushed by corporate ag interests, including the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Pork Association.
Legislators in Jefferson City and the governor heard loud and clear that the vast majority of Missourians were opposed to Senate Bill 391, yet they chose to side with corporate interests over rural communities.
Unfortunately, foreign corporations like Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods spent tens of thousands of dollars on the 2016 gubernatorial campaign and thousands more on other state races. We can clearly see the immense disconnect between the will of the people and the actions of their elected representatives in Jefferson City.
We will continue to fight for independent family farmers and vibrant rural communities and work to make sure their voices will be heard loud and clear on vital issues that affect their lives and communities.