Stink raised over Missouri hog barns leads to agreement

An agreement Wednesday could settle an epic battle over odors emanating from 365 hog barns, primarily in northwest Missouri.

In the legal agreement, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster gave Premium Standard Farms two years to install odor-reducing technology in the barns.

For years local residents have complained that the stink from the barns was ruining their quality of life and in some cases making them sick.

But this year, Premium said it might be forced to leave Missouri entirely if the state cracked down too harshly — and that sparked community meetings that drew thousands of people from both sides.

On Wednesday, Koster said he was optimistic that the odor problem now will be remedied.

"It is my hope that today's settlement will accomplish the goals set forth by the state of Missouri to protect clean water and air in northwest Missouri," Koster said in a press release.

The agreement requires the hog corporation to install mechanical scrapers in pits beneath barns to push manure and urine into a piping system that leads to a bio-digester.

It also carries penalties if Premium doesn't comply. In addition, Premium voluntarily agreed to pay a total of $1 million to five county school districts as well as county road districts.

"We are happy to get this behind us," said Jean Paul Bradshaw, a Premium Standard Farms attorney. "We have every confidence these (scrapers) will address the problem."

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