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COLUMBIA, MO

Opponents of large mid-Missouri hog farm back in court

A group trying to stop a large hog farm from opening in mid-Missouri will be back in court this week asking a judge to void a state permit for the project.

Friends of Responsible Agriculture has been fighting for two years against Callaway Farrowing LLC's proposal to put 10,000 pigs on 20 acres in western Callaway County. On Monday, the group asked Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green for an order voiding a 3-2 vote on Oct. 5 by the Clean Water Commission approving a permit for the farm. Only three members of the seven-member commission supported the permit but four votes are required by law, attorney Stephen Jeffery wrote in a court pleading that will be argued Monday.

Callaway Farrowing LLC, and the commission, argue that if four votes are required, Green should reverse an earlier ruling that barred two of the seven commissioners from participating in the vote. That left the commission with only five members and, with two members opposed, the commission had only three members who could vote to approve the permit.

Alicia Turner, an attorney for Callaway Farrowing, also argued in a pleading that Friends of Responsible Agriculture should not be allowed to sue because it has no interest in the farm, the court has no jurisdiction because other remedies have not been tried and that an earlier lawsuit filed by the group created the current problem.

Eichelberger Farms Inc. of Wayland, Iowa, in June 2014 notified nearby landowners that it intended to seek a permit. Friends of Responsible Agriculture has used public meetings and legal action since then to delay construction of the farm. Callaway Farrowing LLC is the subsidiary created to operate the farm.

Green issued a temporary restraining order when the group sued after the Oct. 5 vote, ordering Callaway Farrowing not to do any work at the site while the case is pending.

In July, Green ordered commissioners Todd Parnell of Springfield and Ashley McCarty of Novinger not to vote on the permit because they violated their duty to be impartial by visiting the Callaway Farrowing site. That action potentially gave them information not on the legal record, Green ruled.

A separate lawsuit over Sunshine Law violations related to the hog farm visits is pending in Cole County Circuit Court.

LE MARS, IA

Iowa DNR monitoring spill of swine manure near stream 

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources are investigating a manure spill near a small stream about three miles southeast of Le Mars in northwestern Iowa.

The Sioux City Journal reports that the rollover crash of a tanker truck on last week dumped up to 9,000 gallons of swine manure near the stream, and at least some of the manure leaked into the stream.

A news release from the department says a pumping company was called to try to contain and pump the spilled manure back into the tanker.The DNR says it will monitor cleanup, give advice and consider enforcement actions.

SIOUX FALLS, SD

South Dakota's soybean crop expected to be record-size 

South Dakota's soybean crop is expected to set a record, but corn production in the state this year is forecast to be down.

The Agriculture Department in its latest forecast projects the state's soybean crop at 248 million bushels, up more than 5 percent from last year, and the corn crop at 771 million bushels, down 4 percent.

Sorghum production is forecast at 17.6 million bushels, down 3 percent from 2015.

OMAHA, NE

Farm income continues to shrink, loan demand grows

The Federal Reserve says demand for farm loans is still growing because cattle and crop prices are lower than they were a year ago and farm profits are shrinking.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Missouri, said Thursday that over 87 percent of bankers in the region reported a decline in farm income in the third quarter.

The changing conditions have bankers expecting loan demand to continue growing while repayment rates decline.

The 10th Federal Reserve District covers Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado, northern New Mexico and western Missouri.

The value of irrigated farmland in the region fell 7 percent while non-irrigated land declined 6.1 percent and pastures declined 6.5 percent.

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