Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Koster the Imposter Brought Home the Bacon

CAFO is a word that you'll hear a lot more as the AG race heats up. CAFO is an acronym for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, more commonly known as a factory farm. They replace the image of farms we all grew up with with super-sized concentrations of pigs, jammed together in hideous conditions. I'm no PETA member, but even I don't like the idea of eating something that has spent its entire life jammed in a stinky stall like the most crowded and flatulent elevator you have ever imagined.

Setting aside any porcine pity or tenderness for tenderloins, though, CAFOs are huge canker sores on the environment. They pollute ground water with unimaginable quantities of pig feces and urine. Their smell can make your eyes water, or worse - airborne micro-particles of pig feces can pollute entire zones of beautiful Missouri countrysides.

Economical disaster mirrors the impact on quality of life. Corporate farms don't drive the pick-up to the local feed mill for supplies - they import vast quantities of whatever they need on shiny 18 wheelers without contributing positively to the local economy. CAFOs drive family farmers out of business, and towns disappear when there are no people to shop on Main Street.

Not surprisingly, local communities have sought to protect their towns and the Missouri landscape from these destructive behemoths. Much like the zoning laws that protected Koster when he was living in Hallbrook or in wealthy St. Louis suburbs, local controls are ways for the people of Missouri's towns to preserve their way of life and the towns they have grown up in.

Also not surprisingly, corporate interests have the money to buy legislative protection. Also not surprisingly, Chris Koster was for sale when he was a Republican Senator. He became so enthusiastic about CAFO and the wealthy donors that control them that he actually sponsored SB 364, mockingly entitled the Missouri Farm and Food Preservation Act.

What would SB 364 have done? It would have loosened environmental controls on these factory farms. Not tightened the controls to prevent the spread of disease and environmental damage, but actually loosen those controls, to enhance profits. It also would have prevented counties from controlling their own jurisdictions, ripping local control away from the locals and insisting that only state or federal regulations could be applied to CAFOs.

This is not some act of ancient history I dug out of the vaults - this happened this year, during the 2007 legislative session, while Koster was supposedly becoming a Democrat! Mere months ago, Koster was siding with corporate hog farms against small town Missourians in a classic Republican power play. Now he wants us to trust him?

Personally, I think that stinks like . . . a hog farm.

By the way, both Democrats in the race, Jeff Harris and Margaret Donnelly, opposed the CAFO bill.

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Anonymous travelingal said...

The family farm (other than a hobby farm) is all but dead. I say that with sadness, but it's a fact.

What I don't like is handing local control over to the federal government. Just goes to show you that too much big government is not a good thing.

12/12/2007 8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Republicans (like Koster was when he was carrying the water for Farm Bureau) like local control? Why did Koster want to prevent folks in Clay and Platte County from keeping corporate pig farms out?

There is no an environmentalist in Missouri that 1) votes Republican or 2) supports corporate pig farming. Do these folks know the night & day positions of Koster vs Harris & Donnelly?

12/12/2007 8:48 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

If the family farm is dead, tell that to the folks at Campo Lindo farms in Lathrop, or Shatto Dairy in Osborn. Or the numerous pork producers that participate in Patchwork Family Farms pork co-op.

Thousands of Missourians make their livings of small farms. Koster's bill would have made that even harder. This doesn't even mention the economic devastation caused by CAFOs in the rural communities in which they are located.

12/12/2007 9:03 AM  
Blogger whistleblower said...

It's not too late to order your holiday ham from Patchwork Family Farms. Use the link contained in the comment from "Joe" above.

More information on this topic can be found on the Show Me Progress website, in an article titled Where Our Legislators Stand on CAFOs

12/12/2007 10:02 AM  
Anonymous A Fan said...

"like the most crowded and flatulent elevator you have ever imagined."

I come here for the writing. Great post on what could have been a boring topic.

And thanks to the commentators with the info on non-CAFO agriculture!

12/12/2007 11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Koster just received a huge endorsement from the Fraternal Order of Police, which is Missouri's largest law enforcement union. Koster is running for AG (the state's highest law enforcement position) not head of the Dept. of Agriculture. Past hog legislation is irrelevant. We need an experienced prosecutor as the state's AG. There is a reason the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Koster rather than his opponents. That reason is experience.

Dan - Quit wallowing with the pigs and try posting a blog that matters.

12/12/2007 8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm leaning toward supporting Koster, but you'd be a fool to think this wasn't an embarrassing misstep on his part.

Our next AG will have the power to regulate CAFO's and we don't need someone in the pocket of big ag.

12/12/2007 8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 8:24 -

I wouldn't exactly say Koster is in "the pocket of big ag." I work for a regional polling outfit. Koster is running better in outstate Mo. than his opponents by 3 to 1. Unless something changes, he wins little "ag's" vote by a big margin.

12/12/2007 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Koster is the best guy for the job in either party. Why do you think Dan keeps attacking him? It sure isn't because Harris or Donnely have more talent. Otherwise the posts would be how great they are instead of the constant gotcha game with Koster's record.

Dan, wake up! The voters don't care about pig farms or really much for the past. The reality is that 400,000 people will decide this contest and I would venture to guess that the most hits you have EVER had on one post wouldn't surpass 2500 and I am being very liberal. Maybe 25000 have heard of CAFO? Let Harris and Donnely spend their money talking about Koster's past. I gaurantee you all 400,000 voters have heard of a police officer and the largest group in the state just endorsed Koster.

12/12/2007 9:41 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Funny how all the commenters in support of Koster feel the need to remain anonymous!

I'll write about the FOP in a few days - much less to see there than you'd think.

Hah, yeah, sure, Koster is outpolling the others! Too funny. Even IF anybody is dumb enough to spend money on polling at this early stage, it's completely meaningless before the campaigns start getting the word out. I suspect your "poll" is Koster calling his outstate friends (that would be Jeff Roe and a couple buddies), and claiming he's from the country (Hallbrook). Harris will win outstate.

Final anonymous - Hah - you sure are politically sophisticated, aren't you? I get a lot more traffic than you'd imagine on a weekly basis, and I'm not the only one who will be talking about Koster's support of pig farms instead of local control. Do you honestly think that people don't mind politicians telling them they don't get to keep massive lagoons of pig feces out of their neighborhoods?

12/13/2007 5:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is Koster a "mammy"...better ask Gloria

12/13/2007 8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, you need to stop eating bacon immediately. The only way to truly stop CAFOs is to reduce the demand. Tell your in-laws there will be no Ham for xmas this year.

What are you getting ready to belittle the FOP? If Harris had picked up the endorsement, which he fought hard for and lost, you would be trumpeting their praises. Now because they chose Koster I'm sure your writing the, "FOP is Irrelevant" post. I've no doubt the police will appreciate your kind words.

Talking about Jeff Roe, you sure do like negative attacks inside the party. Maybe you should call him up and get some advice on how to be more effective.

12/13/2007 9:07 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

I wonder what my neighbors would think if I started raising pigs on my 26 acres (zoned agriculture so it would be legal) right in town next to their $400-500,000 houses. Actually I know the answer to that question and I'd never do it because our city council meeting crowd would look like there was a rock concert going on. I was there before they were but that doesn't matter. The point is local control does and should trump the feds intervening in local control of how and where we live.

Democrats should take a lesson in that. Big government is not a good thing. We don't want them in our backyard. We don't want them dictating who should be entitled to taking what we have and giving to those who THEY feel are entitled to what we have.

12/13/2007 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:07:

You're just silly. Quite trying to preempt Dan's discussion of FOP. He's a lot smarter than you apparently are - he realizes that it is possible to buy pork from non-CAFO producers, and that "you are" is not abbreviated "your".

Besides, attacking Koster is not attacking within the party. Koster is a Republican, who mistakenly thought he stood a better chance as a Dem.

12/13/2007 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 10:22 -

You misspelled "quit."

12/13/2007 8:36 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Good catch!

I'm quite glad to have him or her at my back, though.

12/13/2007 8:38 PM  
Anonymous The Anti Atheist said...

Does anyone remember the Attorney General Bill Webster?

Does anyone rember if Koster worked in his office.

Might be worth looking at.

12/16/2007 6:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Koster worked for Bill Webster, the former REPUBLICAN attorney general who went to jail.

If Koster worked for a Republican AG, and if Koster is right that the AG is mostly about criminal work, why did Koster not do any criminal work while working under Bill Webster?

12/18/2007 5:58 PM  

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