Missouri Business Headlines

Creating a consistent regulatory framework for Missouri agriculture

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One of Missouri’s greatest strengths is its robust agriculture economy. But a patchwork of highly restrictive and arbitrary county ordinances is stifling the growth of the industry and, in some instances, has all but halted future expansion.

The goal of Senate Bill 391, sponsored by Sen. Mike Bernskoetter (R-Jefferson City), is to create a consistent statewide regulatory framework that allows ag businesses and rural economies to flourish.

The Missouri Chamber supports this legislation, which would give farmers equal opportunity in every county to use today’s modern tools, technology and approaches to agriculture production.

In multiple Missouri counties, there has been litigation on arbitrarily restrictive county ordinances that were written by non-experts and in some cases specifically designed to prohibit future growth and expansion of modern animal agriculture operations.

Environmental regulations and permitting must follow sound science and balance the business and economic needs of our state, said Kara Corches, Missouri Chamber director of legislative affairs.

At a hearing for the bill she pointed out that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources already regulates animal feeding operations, and that those processes are based on sound science, expert knowledge and trustworthy environmental data.

“Reliable and defensible state-level regulations are the best approaches for the environment and for our state’s agricultural economy,” said Corches. “Oversight of concentrated animal feeding operations must ensure and maintain a reasonable, workable balance between needed environmental protection and supporting all types of production agriculture equally and fairly across all counties in our state.”

SB 391 has passed in the Senate, passed House committee and now awaits House floor action.

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