As a ban on county-level livestock regulations is set to take effect at the end of the month, a Mid-Missouri health board is moving away from plans to pass local restrictions on concentrated animal feeding operations.
The Moniteau County Health Board meets on Monday for its last regularly scheduled meeting before the new law goes into effect on Aug. 28. It will consider establishing air and water quality monitoring methods instead of regulating large animal operations known as CAFOs, as it was considering earlier in the summer, Moniteau County Health Department environmental specialist Darrell Hendrickson said.
The board will meet at 5 p.m. at the Moniteau County Nutrition Center in California, 107 W Versailles Ave., California, Missouri.
Backers of the law, including its sponsor, Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, say the bill will wipe out all existing local CAFO regulations. Opponents, including attorney Stephen Jeffery, who represents both the Moniteau and Cooper County Health Boards, believe the counties that have regulations should be grandfathered in.
In June, the Moniteau board was considering a regulation identical to the one Howard County voters approved in 2018 that bans applying manure within 1,000 feet of any water source or building, much farther than state standards. The regulation also would have required CAFO owners to have a surety bond for any manure storage lagoons to cover possible cleanup expenses.
After farmers opposing the new regulations packed a public meeting to show their opposition, the board assembled a study group to work on a compromise. That group recommended the board adopt a methodology for air and water quality monitoring, Hendrickson said.
Wells around the county are already being tested for bacteria and nitrates, he said. The study group is asking the board to establish a plan for more organized and scientific samples of groundwater, Hendrickson said.
It also wants to add testing for streams and other surface water. Hendrickson has less experience with surface water than groundwater, so he’ll have to do more research to establish a methodology for that, he said.
The study group recommended adding air quality testing as well. The tests would determine if the air meets EPA standards for ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and particulate matter, said Hendrickson.
The Cooper County Health Board meets on Tuesday, it’s last regularly-scheduled meeting before Aug. 28. There is nothing about the board voting on or discussing a new regulation on the agenda for the meeting.
The meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. in the basement of the Cooper County Public Health Center, 17040 Klinton Dr.
The Cooper board passed a regulation last year requiring people applying manure from a CAFO to their land to develop a detailed nutrient management plan, like the one required by CAFO operators who apply manure to land they own.
Area landowners quickly sued to have the regulation overturned, arguing the board didn’t have the authority to pass the regulation. In June, the board rescinded its regulation. It hadn’t been enforced because 18th Circuit Judge Robert Koffman placed an injunction on the regulation after the landowners sued.