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Blunt Threatens Local Control

Family Farmers Outraged by
Governor Blunt’s State of the State

by Rhonda Perry and Tim Gibbons
Columbia, Missouri

January 25, 2007 -- Last night in his State of the State speech, Governor Blunt urged the legislature to pass Senate Bill 364, deceivingly spun as the “Missouri Farm and Food Preservation Act”, which in reality would end local governments’ authority to protect the health and well-being of their constituents.

Hundreds of farm and rural citizens believe that Governor Blunt is only worried about protecting the rights of corporate agri-business at the expense of the vast majority of independent family farmers and rural citizens.

“Governor Blunt was right about the large number of farming operations in the state. Unfortunately, the operations that would be protected with this bill are a small minority of corporate-controlled, industrial livestock facilities. Out of Missouri’s 105,000 farming operations, less than 1/2 of 1% are regulated industrial livestock operations,” said Rhonda Perry, a livestock and grain farmer from Howard County and Program Director of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center.

This anti-local control bill, sponsored by Senator Koster, would abolish all current Missouri health ordinances that have been put in place to protect family farmers and rural citizens from the potential negative impacts of industrial livestock operations. Currently 16 rural counties have health ordinances in place.

According to Barton Davison, a family farmer from Adair County, “rural citizens and family farmers should be able to expect that their local, elected governments can and will respond to the needs of its citizens. We should be able to protect ourselves from corporate agri-business industries that obviously do not care about being good neighbors.”

Davison, who has been farming for 58 years, was one of group of 40 farm and rural citizens who met Governor Blunt at a public event today in Kirksville to let him know what they think of his anti-democratic agenda for rural Missouri.

“Apparently Governor Blunt didn’t take the hint in November when rural citizens in Northeast Missouri chose local control candidates over pro-corporate contenders in three out of four races,” says Perry, “or maybe, Governor Blunt knows that this legislation has to be passed this year because next year there will be yet another election.”

Missourians for Local Control is a network of organizations and individuals who believe that decisions about our communities should be made at the most local level possible-the level at which the very people who are impacted can best participate.

Published in In Motion Magazine, January 28, 2007

Also see:

Interview with Rhonda Perry
of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center
Grassroots Missouri Organizing Since 1985
A Variety of Tactics, Consistent Strategies
Armstrong, Missouri

Missourians For Local Control
“Supporting Local Government -- Closer to the People”
by Tim Gibbons, Rhonda Perry, Terry Spence
Kirksville, Missouri

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