Missouri Amendment 1 driving a wedge between two parts of society

Posted: Jul. 31, 2014 9:15 am Updated: Aug. 21, 2014 11:15 am

To The Herald-Whig:

As I read about and listen to all arguments on the proposed Missouri Amendment 1, I am increasingly struck by one fundamental fact. A large part of the folks engaged in farming seem to have developed an "us against them" attitude and, as a result, are doing themselves a serious disservice.

Modern farming has evolved to include many nontraditional farming methods, and the population of our state and country increases, the likelihood of clashes between the farm and nonfarm elements of our society are inevitable. Although they want to deny it, the operation of a confined animal operation is much closer to an industrial endeavor than it is to traditional farming, and therefore deserves the same regulation as any other industrial operation.

As I see it, the location for any new confined animal operation should be subject to the same zoning regulations as any other industry. Those which have already been established should be viewed in a different light.

In other words, if I am dumb enough to buy a piece of land downwind from an existing confined animal operation to build my dream cottage, my future cries of foul should be largely ignored. On the other hand, if someone tries to put one of those things near my front yard in such a way that it affects the value of my property and any future quality of life, my cries of foul are justified and should be addressed.

The "us against them" mentality will never allow reasonable resolution of this conflict.

A few short years ago, a large hog operation was proposed for a location near a small community here in Marion County. The residents of that community were rightfully opposed to the proposal. Their complaints to the County Commission resulted in the issue being passed onto the County Health Department. They in turn legally generated a set of regulations trying to address the concerns.

The farm community responded to the regulations with the "us against them" attitude resulting in the total repeal of the regulations. All efforts to reasonably address their concerns were rebuffed. I thought they made a huge mistake at that time and I still believe that. At some point the farm and nonfarm interests are going to have to learn to live together.

The proposed Amendment 1 drives a bigger wedge between those two parts of our society.

Glenn R. Webb

Hannibal, Mo.