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There’s a battle brewing over chicken poop. Jim Turner explained to the board of the Sierra Club in St. Louis the tensions that are building over this … would you call poop an issue?

It seems that our state, with its lax regulations about how much can be applied to the land as manure, is drawing chicken manure from Arkansas into southern Missouri. Disposing of that waste can be a problem for CAFO operators. Missouri chicken CAFO owners resent the influx because currently they’re able to sell their chicken manure. But if Arkansas CAFOs glut the Missouri market with free poop, well, that’s a problem.

That would make for some strange bedfellows if environmentalists and chicken CAFO owners united to effect more stringent regulations. However, their idea of “more stringent” is a fur piece from our notion of it. It’d be more like a limp handshake than sharing a bed. The CAFO operators would be willing to go for requiring manure haulers to register. That’s it. Because they’re not concerned about how the runoff from too much of it can pollute local waterways and water tables.

And the farmers who use their product on the land are opposed to letting state regulators measure the nutrients in their soil, because who knows where that could lead? Next thing they know, the state will be getting ideas about measuring the amount of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium in the soil from commercial fertilizers. Farmers don’t want to hear about the dead zone they’re creating in the Gulf of Mexico from excessive use of chemicals.

The state does have regulations about how much municipal sludge can be applied to land, but there are no such rules about agricultural waste. More’s the pity. And you can be sure that the Farm Bureau, working hand in hand with CAFO owners, will work to do the wrong thing.