Group protests Cargill hog farm plan

Sunday, August 13, 2006

MORA, Mo. -- A proposal to build a large Cargill farm operation southwest of Mora is pitting neighbor against neighbor.

Travis and Sarah Meade, who live on 145 acres near the Benton County line, are planning a 2,490-head, wean-to-finish hog operation. That is 10 hogs shy of needing a Department of Natural Resource permit.

That has drawn the ire of Robert Anderson, a cattle farmer who lives just north of Meade's property. He has formed the Landowners Protective Association and collected 55 signatures in opposition to the farm from people living within a mile and a half of the planned site.

"The reason I'm strictly against this is, I'm the closest to this," he said. "I have the biggest amount to lose."

Anderson said such a large hog operation would reduce the value of his property. He also said it would jeopardize Sedalia's water supply because the Meades' land is within the city's watershed and near Cheese Creek, a tributary of Spring Fork Lake.

Anderson said he might file a lawsuit against the Meades if they continue with their plans.

"If it costs me everything I have, I'll fight this plumb to the Supreme Court," Anderson said.

Meade said he has worked with government agencies and an engineer so that his proposed hog farm is safe and minimizes odor. He said he's consulted several attorneys.

"We aren't doing anything wrong," Meade said. "I don't think they can stop us, and I don't think we're going to back down now."

Doug Kneibert, who owns 20 acres along Cheese Creek just more than a mile north of the Meade property, has joined the opposition group.

"Anyone who has every been around one of these large-scale hog operations knows the smell is atrocious, and it spreads over several miles," Kneibert said.

Meade said he could understand his neighbors' opposition if he were violating government regulations.

"I'm not going to turn down a good opportunity for my family, just because my neighbor has some sort of personal strife with me," he said. "I hate that it's gone this far, but I hate to give up a good opportunity for my family."

Anderson said he thinks most people would be on his side in the fight.

"People have to eat, but you have to draw a line somewhere," he said.

Information from: The Sedalia Democrat,

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