We have known that Pipestone Systems, a CAFO corporation incorporated in Pipestone, MN, is targeting Missouri to build more hog CAFOs, because the concentration of hogs in Minnesota and Iowa created many livestock disease problems. They said publicly that they are targeting Missouri because we have clean water without animal diseases. They are attempting to build a CAFO with 7,700 hogs in southern Cooper County – the low end of a Class 1B CAFO and 38 people live within one mile of the proposed site. This propsed Pipestone hog CAFO in Cooper County is linked to our Cedar Count/Cooper County lawsuit opposing SB391, see Count 3.

Missouri state standards allow building a Class 1B CAFO (7,500-17,499 swine weighing over 55 pounds or 3,000-6,999 beef or feeder cows) 2,000 feet from an occupied residence, less than one-third mile. Pipestone tried to build in Howard County a year earlier.

After the summary judgment hearing in Jefferson City Wednesday, Feb. 19, I learned that Pipestone held a big open house Feb. 11 or 12 at the site of its newest Class 1B hog CAFO in Bates County, near Butler (no hogs on site yet). Around 500 people reportedly attended.

A Bates County resident said Pipestone drilled a well to supply a CAFO near Butler, but the water is high in magnesium, so they are asking for 10,000-20,000 gallons per day to augment their well water.

Pipestone is also attempting to build a hog CAFO near Rich Hill, also in Bates County. They requested 125,000-625,000 gallons of water per day from the rural Public Water System District #4 which extends west of Rich Hill and north. Pipestone attended the water board meeting Thursday night, Feb. 20, in Rich Hill; apparently, no decision was reached. The water board’s attorney found that the water was created from a Federally funded grant with language that specified that water from the system would only serve residents, not corporations, so they think they can reject Pipestone’s request. Most Public water systems have laws against commercial use. The by-laws reveal more and each district can have its own by-laws.

Bates County does not have a health ordinance to regulate CAFOs, but they do have township zoning and planning. I do not know how that affected Pipestone moving in. They are not an Agri-Ready County, but they are surrounded on two sides by Agri-Ready counties (Vernon County to the south; St. Clair County and Henry County to the east).

I remembered reading about the huge amount of water consumed by huge hog barns, so looked it up. While thousands of hogs drink a lot of water daily, David Kirby wrote in “Animal Factory – The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment,” published in 2010,, that flushing the huge barns consumes the greatest amount of water. He said a 5,000-sow furrowing operation would reasonably consume about 215,000 gallons of water per day, course, flushing mixes water with manure, urine, antibiotic and growth hormone residue, dead skin flakes, feed and it becomes liquid manure which will be sprayed onto fields as close as 50 feet from property lines, unless the CAFO has a new “export only” permit that allows spraying right up to property line, even if your house is located on the property line.

Later, I learned form friends who live close to hog CAFOs in Cedar and Barton Counties that operators may or may not flush the slatted floors with fresh water, depending on the kind of put under the barn and the size of the lagoon beside it. In some cases, they apparently flush the floors every 10-14 days with the top 3-4 inch layer of liquid from the outdoor lagoon-imagine the stench… In deep pit operations, the lagoon is under the floor; those require massive amounts of electricity to run ventilation fans to exhaust all the gases. They do not cut back in summer during peak hours because the pigs cannot survive more than 3-4 hours without the ventilation; the gases the CAFO pumps out into our communities would otherwise kill the pigs…

Pipestone could build CAFOs here in Cedar County. Wining our law suit would allow our heath ordinance to protect us more than our weak state CAFO standards, but they can still build here and ruin lives. It is a frightening reality.

Cheryl Y. Marcum

Cedar County