Recently, large factory farms have sought to set up concentrated animal feeding operations near Roaring River State Park, Arrow Rock and Battle of Athens State Historic Site. Such factory farms confine thousands of animals in close quarters and, understandably, their waste byproducts emit foul odors. In Missouri’s recent past, some factory farm waste containment systems have failed, spilling waste that pollutes streams.
Missouri is big enough — 68,674 square miles — that factory meat farms don’t need to set up near state parks and trout streams. Once a factory farm moves too close to a state park, word can travel fast that a vacation area stinks.
Tourism in Missouri is a $13 billion industry. And our state has one of the top five parks systems in the nation. But it’s doubtful Missouri parks can weather the perception by potential visitors that we’ve switched from the Show-Me State to the Smell-Me State.
Good neighbors can find sensible ways to keep our parks and factory farms separate.
Former director, Missouri Division of Tourism