A bill in Missouri that would eliminate local regulation of CAFOs has passed in the state Senate and House and is headed to the desk of Gov. Mike Parson, who is expected to sign it into law. Opponents of the bill say it favors the interests of the largest livestock farms while exposing communities to greater health and environmental risks.
Communities in Missouri have been fighting the expansion of large-scale livestock operations in the state for years. But a controversial pair of bills moving through the state legislature would make community oversight of those farms even harder. The bills would eliminate local ordinances that regulate industrial animal farms in the state, or make it impossible to enforce those ordinances. The bills mirror trends in other states where legislators have moved to undermine local control of large-scale livestock farms.(No paywall)
Every state has a “right-to-farm” law on the books to protect farmers from being sued by their neighbors for the routine smells and sounds created by farming operations. But this year, the agriculture industry has been pushing in several states to amend those laws so that they will effectively prevent neighbors from suing farms at all — even massive industrial livestock operations.
The U.S. House might not vote on an immigration bill this year in large part due to opposition from California farmers, reports McClatchy. Growers say harsh provisions in the bill would gut the state's agricultural work force, so they are working with powerful lawmakers, such as Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to keep such a package from going to a floor vote.
Fulfilling a signature promise of his campaign, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and "to repatriate illegal aliens swiftly, consistently and humanely." More than one-half of farm workers are believed to be undocumented; the largest U.S. farm group said lawmakers might be more willing to discuss immigration reform if border security is strengthened.
Conservative voters are turning their backs on a proposed right-to-farm amendment for Oklahoma's state constitution, a possibly pivotal shift in a politically conservative state. The independent Sooner Poll says voter support for the right-to-farm proposal, one of seven constitutional questions on Tuesday's ballot, has plummeted to 37 percent from its July level of 53 percent.
Property taxes and access to biotechnology are bigger issues for Nebraska farmers and ranchers than a right-to-farm amendment to the state Constitution, said leaders of six ag groups. The unified position by cattle, hog, dairy, corn and soybean growers and the Nebraska Farm Bureau could mean the end of efforts in the state legislature for an amendment which would prohibit regulation of agriculture without a compelling state interest.
Agriculture and homebuilder groups "appear headed for the U.S. Supreme Court" in their opposition to the EPA’s "pollution diet" for the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in North America, says the Newport News (Va) Daily Press.
In a new survey by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, a public-relations arm of the Farm Bureau and commodity groups, fewer than half of respondents agreed with the statement, “The way that most of today’s farming and ranching operations in the U.S. grow and raise food meets the standards of sustainability.”
The drought is propelling water prices to record levels, says the Vallejo (Calif) Times-Herald in recounting how prices have quadrupled or more. Water is, it says, "a commodity, like oil or gold, and its prices swing in response to supply and demand, geography and decisions out of Sacramento." So-called traded water is a small part of California consumption but the amount has grown greatly.