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New industrial livestock feeding operation seeks permit in Callaway County

Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

Callaway Farrowing is looking to build a facility that would bring 10,000 hogs to Callaway County.

The Iowa-based industrial livestock feeding operation filed an application for the facility to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on July 31, 2014. Family farmers and members of the group Friends of Responsible Agriculture met Wednesday to discuss their concerns with the proposal. Lifelong farmer Terry Spence said the meeting at the Missouri Rural Crisis Center in Columbia identified environmental issues resulting from corporate farming operations.

"Our corporate lobbyists have weakened our regulations so much," Spence said. "It's an open territory to do what you want, how you want, and pollute how you want."

Communications Director of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center Tim Gibbons said the proposal will greatly affect the lives of family farmers.

"Putting 10,000 hogs next to farms that were there first decimates their property values, their property rights, and their quality of life," Gibbons said.

Gibbons says the corporations that own livestock operations in Missouri have gained control of the marketplace.

"In 1985, we had 23,000 hog farmers in Missouri," Gibbons said. "Now we've got just over 2,000."

Spence has worked as an independent consultant near Springfield, Missouri where a corporate poultry operation was recently built. He said tests conducted by the Dade County Health Department show that E. coli and coliform bacteria are present in the area's 500-foot deep wells.

Spence believes family farmers have an important obligation to fulfill.

"The future generation is at stake here and we owe that to them to preserve what we have here in raising livestock and having a good environment to live in," Spence said. 

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources will hold a public hearing Thursday in Hatton, Missouri to discuss the hog facility proposal.