LONE JACK, Mo — Describing an atmosphere of flies, increased traffic, pollution and a horrific stench, 141 property owners in Jackson County are suing Valley Oaks Steak Company in Lone Jack.
“The smells are horrific. The runoff is terrible, and the flies that are generated are unimaginable,” said Ken McClain, the attorney handling the lawsuit.
The suit accuses Valley Oaks Steak Company of trespassing and being a nuisance.
“It’s not a situation where they have moved in around the factory and said, ‘We don’t enjoy living around the factory,'” McClain said. “The factory has come to them.”
When it opened in 2016, Valley Oaks had a permit for 999 head of cattle.
A January preliminary injunction prevented the company from expanding to 6,999 cattle in a separate lawsuit involving nearby Powell Gardens. That case goes to trial in February.
Valley Oaks officials have said in the past the operation would be among the most environmentally friendly concentrated animal feeding operations in the country.
In this new suit on behalf of the 141 homeowners, McClain is seeking punitive damages and a jury trial.
McClain said weak state regulations and abuse of Missouri’s Right to Farm Amendment are partly to blame for the dispute.
“A number of protections were passed to protect family farms, and these corporate farmers have utilized them,” McClain said. “And through lobbyists, they’ve expanded the understanding of Right to Farm to include these factory farms. It’s abusive, and it’s not good for Missouri.”
FOX4 made repeated phone calls to the management at Valley Oaks. A spokesperson said the company has no comment in response to this latest lawsuit.