Protecting Powell Gardens and Its Community

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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.

The final permit hearing was August 27-28, 2018 in Jefferson City. The final decision on the permit is set for October 23, 2018.

News Release 8.28.2018

Order to Stay the Permit
Updated July 30, 2018

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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

What can you do?

If you were adversely affected by this decision, you may file a written petition to the Administrative Hearing Commission before July 16, 2018.

In your appeal:

  • List the Valley Oak’s permit number MOG010872
  • State you are filing pursuant to Revised Statutes of Missouri Section § 621.250
  • State the reasons for why MDNR should not have issued the permit

Contact information for the AHC is: Administrative Hearing Commission, United States Post Office Building, Third Floor, 131 West High Street, P.O. Box 1557, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

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

Summer Appeal


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


Did you know you can vote for sustainable food choices with your fork?

At restaurants and in grocery stores, consumers are increasingly bombarded with terms like organic, local, sustainable, natural and clean. Dive deeper a bit deeper into how your food is raised and you’ll find an alphabet soup of popular and scientific terms relaying how cattle is raised and processed.
The USDA offers “Know Your Farmer Know Your Food Compass,” an introduction to stewardship and local food:
We’ve focused on defining some of the terms that you need to know to better understand where your food comes from and how it is grown or raised, but the best way to understand what you are buying is to know your farmer, the location of the ranch and ask questions.

We’ve been asking a lot of questions lately and here is what we have learned:

Farm-To-Food Glossary

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