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Posted on Apr. 11, 2007
By Rick Matz
Springfield News-Leader

Water, Tourism Need to be Protected from Feedlots

Read this statement by the Farm Bureau spokesman: "The other major provision of SB 364 would limit the regulation of agriculture to state and federal governments. In recent years, 16 counties have adopted county health ordinances regulating animal agriculture to the extent that any meaningful growth of livestock production has been shut down. Moreover, the health ordinances are not based upon sound science justifying their need beyond the existing state and federal regulations." There is an old cowboy saying: Don't drink downstream from the herd. We all live downstream. That ain't science, but it's good common sense. The fact is that there is good science that shows us how fragile our water system is in this part of the state. The point is that counties should retain the right to control feedlots and to protect the water in their own counties. Even the writer will have to admit that pig stuff stinks. Greg Bacon's recent letter in the News-Leader makes the inportant point. We must protect our water!

The soil in all parts of the state is not the same. What may be safe for the water in one area will not be safe in other areas. In southwest Missouri, we are dependent on a very fragile water system. Our economy in this area depends nearly as much on tourism as on agriculture. Our rivers and lakes are what tourism is based on. A lot of people in this area have worked very hard creating a way to make a living here. Let's not lose what we have worked for by allowing huge corporate farm operations to set up feedlots that will literally let pigs, chickens, turkeys and cattle poop in our water.

There is a struggle already to protect the water from the increased human population in this area, with the increase of wells, septic systems and chemical fertilizers that come with population growth. It beats the heck of me to understand why Bass Pro and other tourism-based businesses have not stepped up with some money to counter this power grab by corporate agriculture.

Corporate feedlots will never put the money in our local economy that tourism does. We can't afford to lose tourism to feedlots. Please notify your representatives in Jefferson City that we need to retain local protection of our water.

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