Protecting Powell Gardens and Its Community

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***UPDATE | AUGUST, 19, 2019***

We were surprised to learn of the sudden closure of the Valley Oaks Steak Company. The past year and a half has been incredibly taxing on our Board of Directors, staff, and the surrounding community as we have navigated the threat of a possible expansion of their contained animal feeding operation.  The expansion proposed an increase in the number of cattle on their 400 acres from nearly 900 to 6,999. The approval of this expansion would have made them the largest beef cafo in the state of Missouri. The size, the scope of operations (the company would house, slaughter and sell product all from the same site), and the close proximity of the facility to Powell Gardens, a non-profit botanical garden and cultural treasure, and to nearly 800 homes in the residential heart of Lone Jack, Mo, were among the many reasons why legal action against the expansion was pursued.  We are currently awaiting Valley Oaks’ confirmation of their closure with the judges in all pending legal actions. Thank you very much for your continued support as we pursued this fight.

Full Press Release

Valley Oaks Steak Company, LLC, located on 50 Highway just three miles from Powell Gardens and about the same distance from downtown Lone Jack, is currently in the planning phase of expanding their confined animal feeding operation (CAFO). The expansion they have proposed will include housing and processing of cattle and will increase the number of cattle on their 400 acres from nearly 900 to 6,999.

***Clean Water Commission Meeting***

Monday, December 10 | 10-3 p.m.

We are encouraging the community to attend the Missouri Clean Water Commission meeting scheduled for Monday, December 10th from 10 am to 3 pm. The Clean Water Commission will convene at 1730 East Elem Street, Jefferson City, MO to address the permit for Valley Oaks. Attendance will support the Administrative Hearing Commission’s recommendation to reverse the permit issued by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to Valley Oaks, Inc. In October, the AHC determined that the permit issuance was not in compliance with Missouri law and was not protective of water quality near Kansas City’s botanical gardens and the surrounding community.

Meeting Agenda and Additional Information

 

On Tuesday, the AHC recommended to reverse the permit issued by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to Valley Oaks CAFO, determining that it was not in compliance with Missouri law and was not protective of water quality near Kansas City’s botanical gardens and the surrounding community. The AHC found that Valley Oaks Steak Co., failed to base its land application plan on realistic data, which would lead to the over-applying of manure on nearby fields, and Valley Oaks failed to provide adequate storage for the 106,000 tons manure that will be generated annually, among other violations.

News Release 10.24.18

Administrative Hearing Commission Recommendation

The final permit hearing was August 27-28, 2018 in Jefferson City.

News Release 8.28.2018

Order to Stay the Permit
Updated July 30, 2018

What has happened?

The Administrative Hearing Commission has GRANTED our request to stay or suspend the Valley Oaks expansion permit until the appeal is decided.

What does this mean?

This means that, based on the evidence presented so far, the Commission agrees that the permit was issued improperly and that irreparable harm to waters of the state will occur if the permit is issued as-is. Valley Oaks currently does not have a permit to operate a CAFO beyond 999 cattle.

What’s Next?

– The Commission has scheduled the final hearing on the permit for August 27, 2018 in Jefferson City.

Order to Stay

Original Permit Decision

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources approved the Valley Oak’s expansion Permit on June 15, 2018.

Statement from Powell Gardens CEO/President, Tabitha Schmidt: “We are disappointed that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has made such a detrimental decision against the interest of our natural resources and public health. We will be pursuing all available recourse to protect our public treasure.”

Powell Gardens has filed for an injunction and will be filing an administrative appeal in response to the Missouri Department of Natural Resource’s issuance of an operating permit to Valley Oaks Steak Company for a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO).

News Release 6.19.18

Valley Oaks Permit

You can support opposition to this expansion by BECOMING A MEMBER or make a donation to our operations.

Donate

What are we protecting?

Powell Gardens is a 970-acre facility with 100 maintained botanical acres, housing a living museum of plant collections, architecture designed by world-renowned architect E. Fay Jones and offering events, classes, and respite to an average of 100,000 visitors each year. The land, purchased by the Powell Family in 1948, was incorporated as the non-profit cultural landmark it is today, in 1988.

An Aerial View of Kansas City’s Botanical Garden

     Video by Open Sky Video & Mapping

CAFO FAQ

Public Hearing

After hundreds of questions and concerns regarding the expansion permit were submitted, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources held a public hearing, in April 3, 2018, at the Warrensburg Community Center to allow further public comment.  The capacity of the room reserved by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources was 200, nearly 600 community members were in attendance. The video below highlights select comments from residents of the Lone Jack Community and supporters of Powell Gardens. Links to media coverage of the hearing are also provided.

News Release-2.28.18