Powell Gardens is offering complimentary bus transportation to a Missouri Department of Natural Resources public hearing from 6 to 8 p.m. April 3, at the Warrensburg Community Center, 445 E. Gay St., Warrensburg. The Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation hearing is scheduled to address widespread public concern regarding the proposed expansion of a confined animal feeding operation 3 miles west of the Powell Gardens U.S. 50.

Those interested in signing up for complimentary bus transportation to the hearing can submit their information through the online form at powellgardens.org/cafo. Seats are limited to 55 passengers and are first-come, first-served. Riders will board at 4 p.m. and the bus will leave at 4:30 p.m., returning to Powell Gardens after the hearing.

The proposed expansion includes housing, slaughtering, processing cattle and the sale of meat on-site, while also allowing an increase in the number of cattle on the 400-acre operation from nearly 900 to 6,999. Operations at or above 7,000 head of cattle are designated as Class IA facilities, which are subject to regular monitoring of odor emissions. Valley Oaks Steak Company would be classified as IB at 6,999 head of cattle and would not be subject to as stringent of guidelines.

According to various studies conducted by the EPA and the State Environmental Resource Center, possible effects of confined animal feeding operations can include groundwater contamination and effects to air quality. Powell Gardens is asking the surrounding communities to oppose the Valley Oaks' expansion and join the conversation by attending the hearing.

Public comments can be submitted directly to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and must be received or postmarked by 5 p.m. April 2, and include the permit number MOG010872. Email to publicnoticenpdes@dnr.mo.gov or mail to the Department of Natural Resources, Water Protection Program, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102, ATTN: NPDES Operating Permits/Permit Comments.