Mallory Herrmann

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) is stepping into the fight between Lone Jack residents and the Valley Oaks Steak Company.

MDNR filed a petition against the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) this week in hopes of reversing a stay order keeping the steak company from increasing the number of cattle in their Angus beef feedlot in Lone Jack.

MDNR granted a permit to Country Club Homes, LLC on June 15 of this year for the operation of the steak company, which was allowed to maintain a maximum of 999 cattle without a permit – and up to 6,999 with it. As they began increasing the cattle at their facility, but so did concerns from residents and community organizations.

A stay order was granted after reviewing complaints received in late June from both Lone Jack Neighbors for Responsible Agriculture, LLC and Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden. Citing possible environmental concerns, the order required Valley Oaks to reduce the number of cattle (1,900 at the time) to the prior limit of 999.

The petition was filed August 21 in the circuit court of Cole County, and was submitted by Attorney General Josh Hawley.

It requests that Brett Berri, commissioner of the AHC, be barred from enforcing the stay order he entered on July 26. It argues that a stay order requires a preservation of the status quo (in this case the 1,900 cattle legally allowed at the Valley Oaks feedlot at the time) and not a return to the limit prior to the permit’s issuance. The petition suggests that the AHC acted outside its authority by essentially revoking the permit.