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Posted on Wed., Aug. 05, 2009
By ANN PIERCEALL
Missouri Rural Crisis Center

Scotland County Residents Vote to Restore Health Ordinance

HANNIBAL, Mo. -- More than 58 percent of Scotland County voters want to restore an ordinance governing concentrated animal feeding operations.

Of the 1,217 people who cast ballots Tuesday, 705 want the ordinance. The question put to voters was considered non-binding, but Scotland County commissioners had promised to abide by the vote.

Scotland County had an ordinance in place about four years ago, but it was rescinded when the meetings between those for and against the ordinance grew contentious.

Longtime ordinance proponent Chipper Harris of Memphis hopes commissioners will follow through on their promise. "My hope is that they take this as a sign of what the people want and come up with an ordinance that protects our homes and our agri-oriented lifestyle," he said.

Harris said he's "not anti-hog," adding that he has raised animals in the past and has family that continues to do so. He also hopes that now that a vote has been taken, "whatever has been torn in this community can be mended."

Pork producer Kenny Hauk fears the rift will only deepen with the results of Tuesday's election.

"I'm just disappointed," he said, adding that a new ordinance "will hurt" county producers.

"They'll want to impose so many rules on it to the point there won't be any new buildings going up," he said. Scotland County Presiding Commissioner Mike Stephenson was stunned by the vote.

"Apparently I'm very much out of step with the county and I'm having to do some soul searching about being that out of step," he said, but added the commission will follow through with its promise.

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