This week a Cole County, Missouri judge has issued a restraining order on Senate Bill 391, a bill signed by Governor Mike Parson in May, that prevents county commissions and health boards from instituting regulations on concentrated animal feeding operations that are stricter than state law. The bill was set to go into effect Aug. 28.
In response the Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri Pork Association, Missouri Soybean Association and Missouri Corn Growers Association issued the following statement:
“The legal system is being misused by those determined to stifle Missouri farm and ranch families from opportunities to grow and keep future generations on the farm. This frivolous lawsuit is a last-minute, desperate attempt designed to disrupt Missouri agriculture.
“Family farmers and ranchers operate on a handshake, not a court order. But make no mistake; we will use every tool available to protect them from this small band of naysayers hell bent on overturning the work of the Missouri legislature.
“Senate Bill 391 will end the practice of using scientifically unfounded county health ordinances to regulate animal agriculture. We need to stop this regulatory fiasco for farm and ranch families and focus on growing agriculture and creating new economic opportunity.
“The plaintiffs clearly have no desire to advance Missouri agriculture, and they will be met with relentless opposition from the actual farmers and ranchers our groups collectively and proudly represent. We stand ready to work with Governor Mike Parson, Attorney General Eric Schmitt and others to mount the necessary response to this unfounded temporary restraining order.
“Finally, Missouri agricultural groups were included in this lawsuit for no other reason than to chill our right to free speech. We are being sued for having an opinion. This action by the plaintiffs far exceeds the normal scope for handling policy disagreements in a civilized society.”