New Adair County farm to house 27,000 chickens

2012 will bring a new addition to Adair County: thousands of chickens.

A chicken farm is under construction on Apache Way between Route T and Lone Pine Way. Adair County Commissioners said the owner, John Mark Miller, told them he expects to house around 27,000 chickens in a confined facility at that location. Commissioners said they are concerned about these types of operations springing up in the county because of the damage they could cause to the area's air and water quality. Also, they said they are hearing residents' complaints about a possible decrease in property values.

According to John Miller, the property owner, the farm will have fewer animals than required by law to obtain a permit.

"As long as they don't break the law, and keep the numbers of the animals below the state requirements for licensing, there isn't really anything the county can do," said Carson Adams, the 1st District Adair County Commissioners. "We can try to make the ordinances tougher but as long as they keep the numbers down, the ordinances don't matter."

Missouri law states that chicken farms that have 30,000 laying hens or more are designated as a concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, and are required to have a permit to operate. Adams said those are the operations the county can regulate. In order to discourage larger operations from moving into the county, Adams said they are looking into passing a stronger CAFO ordinance before 2012.

Commissioners said the new chicken farm is expected to be complete by the spring of 2012.