It’s all about the money.
A company is in the process of creating an “up to” 6,999 beef cattle confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) on 400 acres on U.S. 50 in western Johnson County, just west of Powell Gardens. The Missouri Department of Natural Resource held a permit hearing in Warrensburg on Tuesday evening.
Karen Lux, a resident of the area, spoke at the hearing:
Obviously, I wish everyone here could see our powerpoints and our visuals. Um, if you got a handout please share it. I am Karen Lux, daughter of Jack and Caroline Wilkinson whose property in part is a centennial farm that has been established since the late 1800s and neighbors the Valley Oaks CAFO site. I’m a lifelong resident in this community and my parents have a total of nine grandchildren residing there, the seventh generation. I am submitting letters from four of that seventh generation this evening. Many generations have worked hard to preserve this land and pass it down, such as my father who is a multi generational cattle farmer and my mother, a very successful real estate agent. And I’ve followed in her footsteps.
On my slide you would have seen a photo from March 26th of this year. This photo shows a river basically running down the property from the CAFO buildings. No terraces, lack of ground cover or grass waterways allow the manure from the land application to pollute our waterways. There’s an increasing trend for flood in the Midwest. The watershed from this facility already flow to an impaired 303D waterway at the South Grand River. And due to CAFOs potential spill the EPA designated CAFOs as point sources of pollution.
The Valley Oaks nutrient management plan states they will spread manure on the ground where the facility is located. This land has no ground cover, the corn stubble has been removed, and corn is the only crop being grown on this property. These factors allow the [inaudible] to run off into the FEMA high risk Zone A flood plain. The taller weeds show terraces are not being maintained, which create ditches. And they do have a lot of field erosion. Crop lines are running vertically downhill from the CAFO buildings towards a FEMA high risk Zone A flood plain.
Another picture I had, take March 18th, showed manure was applied to the land where the facility is located the day before a forecasted large rainfall. The Valley Oaks nutrient management plan, Section D, Number 3, states, “No land application if precipitation likely to create runoff is forecasted within 24 hours.” And Section A states, “manure will be disked into the ground.” Neither regulation was followed.
Per Valley Oaks’ permit a hundred six thousand two hundred and twelve tons per year of manure will come from this facility. Or, two hundred and ninety tons per day that is being produced by one less than seven thousand head of cattle. Two hundred and ninety tons per day is the amount of waste created by the cities of Independence and Lee’s Summit, Missouri combined. Also equivalent to the mass of thirty-five elephants. Per Valley Oaks’ application the mass of ten of these elephants will be bagged and old daily. How is that possible?
On March 19th, after, the day after the manure application picture one point four seven inches of rain occurred. In the picture I had it would show you a tire in the, in the picture. Obviously, after we had a large rain that tire had disappeared. According to the current land permit it states that “water shall be free from used tires.” Both violations of their permit.
One point four seven inches of rain occurred on March 19th, the day after the manure application. The pictures would show major water flow coming from the land toward [U.S.] 50 Highway along with major water pooling near the FEMA high risk flood plain on the north side of the CAFO building. […] Excellent. I will finish up, sir.
As a real estate agent I can’t fathom the effects on our community. As the picture I showed, handed out, there’s approximately eight hundred eighty residences within a three mile radius. That’s horrible to see all those families affected.
My last statement would be, when big, big business can come into our established community and tell a multi generational farmer, “If you find you can’t deal with it you can come to our office and we’ll make you an offer.” Our county and our state government is not working for the people. [applause]
Now that’s a CAFO (March 18, 2018)