Missouri Judge Issues Restraining Order on State Law Protecting CAFOs

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A Cole County, Missouri judge has placed a restraining order on Senate Bill 391 that prevents counties from imposing stricter regulations on large livestock farms than the state regulations, according to the Missourian.

The bill, signed by Missouri Governor Mike Parson in May and due to take effect Aug. 28, aimed to stop a number of local health ordinances from placing restrictions on farms considered concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Bill proponents believe uniform statewide regulations make it easier for rural landowners to conduct business, especially for those whose property crosses county lines.

However, the Cedar County Commission, Cooper County Public Health Center, Friends of Responsible Agriculture and three Missouri farmers sued Parson, the Missouri Air Conservation Commission and Missouri Clean Air Commission this summer arguing that Senate Bill 391 is unconstitutional, according to the Missourian.

The plaintiffs allege the law does not have the power to override existing county health ordinances. The debate revolves around which regulations the companies establishing CAFOs in Missouri should adhere to.

In addition to the state of Missouri, defendants in the lawsuit are the Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Pork Association and Missouri Cattlemen’s Association.

The restraining order issued by Judge Patricia Joyce will be in effect for 10 days. A hearing is set for Sept. 19 in Cole County.

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