In the latest development of a nine-month-long saga, Opponents of Cooper County CAFOs spent Monday in court to appeal the Department of Natural Resource’s decision to issue a permit to the incoming Tipton East concentrated animal feeding operation.

The hearing was held in Jefferson City in front of the Administrative Hearing Commission, which acts as a neutral decision-maker in cases involving state agencies.

The CAFO opposition group filed as an LLC in February after receiving notices about the proposed concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO. A permit was issued to the Tipton East facility on June 19.

Fred Williams owns land near the proposed Tipton East hog CAFO in Clarksburg. Through his work with the Opponents of Cooper County CAFOs group, or the OCCC, Williams said he hopes to “gather information about CAFOs in Cooper County and ultimately to oppose Tipton East.”

At the end of August, the Cooper County Board of Health approved a health regulation over the proposed CAFO. The opposition group pushed heavily for this regulation, and members of the OCCC helped draft the document. The regulation allows the health department to have oversight over CAFOs with more than 1,000 animals and prohibits applying waste within 100 feet of residential property.

Williams said he’s worried about potential water contamination from the incoming CAFO. He and his family rely on a 210-foot deep groundwater well for drinking water.

“My primary concern is groundwater,” he said. “We don’t have a secondary source of water.”

Williams and his mother, Susan Williams, both help to organize the opposition group. A private Facebook group for the organization lists 242 members.

Susan Williams is raising butcher hogs near the property line of the Tipton East facility. She said she shares her son’s concerns about potential groundwater contamination.

“If there’s over-application (of manure) or leakage — that’s our groundwater, and we don’t have other options,” she said.

Gordon Wray, who works for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, wrote the permit issued to the Tipton East facility. Wray testified that he found no regulatory violations in the Tipton East application.

The administrative hearing commission is expected to issue a verdict in the next three to four weeks.

Supervising editor is Claire Mitzel: news@columbiamissourian.com, 882-5720.

  • I'm an assistant city editor. This is my junior year at MU, where I study investigative reporting and political science. Interests include local journalism, breakfast food and good books. Email cectx9@mail.missouri.edu with any story tips.

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