JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Cole County, Missouri, judge issued a temporary restraining order this week on Senate Bill 391. The new state law will stop individual counties from enforcing farming regulations outside the state law on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
The order was in response to the Cedar County Commission, Cooper County Public Health Center, Friends of Responsible Agriculture and three Missouri farmers who filed a lawsuit against Gov. Mike Parson, the Missouri Air Conservation Commission and Missouri Clean Water Commission. Other defendants include the Missouri Farm Bureau, the Missouri Pork Association and the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association.
The Missouri Farm Bureau released a joint statement regarding the lawsuit.
"The legal system is being misused by those determined to stifle Missouri farm and ranch families from opportunities to grow and keep future generations on the farm. This frivolous lawsuit is a last-minute, desperate attempt designed to disrupt Missouri agriculture," The joint statement read. "Family farmers and ranchers operate on a handshake, not a court order. But make no mistake; we will use every tool available to protect them from this small band of naysayers hell bent on overturning the work of the Missouri legislature."
The counties are arguing that the law is unconstitutional and would affect previously adopted county health ordinances.
In a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Gov. Parson’s office said it is planning “an aggressive legal response to this unfounded temporary restraining order.”
The senate bill was supposed to go into effect on Aug. 28. A hearing is set for Sept. 16 to determine the next steps in the lawsuit.