March 14, 2017: SRAP News from the Field


 Pigs, Poultry, Petitions, Pollution

& Public Education

Since our last newsletter, SRAP has received seven new SOS calls for help from community members living in Minnesota, Maryland, Missouri, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Nebraska.The cumulative impact of the 75,400 hogs and 1,137,000 broiler chickens and the massive amout of waste these animals generate is causing significant problems for the people living in communities where these operations are sited.

As an increasing number of communities face unfettered growth of new industrial livestock operations, the current administration is seeking to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s  (EPA) budget by 24 percent and reduce the staffing of the agency by 20 percent. In the coming years, these EPA budget and staff cuts will mean that communities on the frontlines of factory farm expansion will have even fewer tools to protect themselves from the growing threats these facilities create. Our friends at Food & Water Watch are not taking the news sitting down. Dozens of community groups and local organizations have joined Food & Water Watch to petition the EPA to overhaul its rules for how CAFOs are regulated under the federal Clean Water Act and its permitting program. Read more.  

While we’ve never had an easy row to hoe when it comes to protecting communities from factory farms, it appears that our job has just become even more challenging. Increasingly, communities will need to be creative in stopping new factory farming operations and citizens will need to be even more persistent in their pursuit of justice from local and state decision-makers.

Our friends at  Dodge County Concerned Citizens  exemplify perseverance. After a three-year battle, they will finally get their day before the Minnesota Appeals Court to determine whether local governments are obligated to protect their citizens from the impact of the growing livestock industry. Read the full story.

In Fulton County, Illinois the County Board received a strongly worded letter from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, which warned of the substantial health risks industrial livestock operations will bring to local communities.  This letter confirmed public concerns that farmers and rural residents have expressed about the Runway Ridge Farms and Memory Lane Acres hog factories.

We’re continuing our efforts to educate the public about the impact of factory farms on rural communities and family farmers. This week, our very own Craig Watts will be on-the-road speaking about his experience as a contract grower for the poultry giant Perdue. We are excited to team up with our partners: Nebraska Communities United, Farm Aid and GC Resolve to publicize this important story.

As always, if you need help stopping a factory farm feel free to contact us and we will do what we can to help.

Citizens Standing Up, Fighting Back: Kim Gattuso

The cows began arriving on May 1, 2015.

Just 150 feet from her front porch, the lights fired up, the noise began and life in Smith Valley has never been the same.

It was far from what Kim Gattuso expected when she moved to Nevada’s rural Smith Valley, about 85 miles southeast of Reno, nearly 20 years ago. The area had everything she was looking for ” a wide-open landscape, peace and quiet, and the sort of natural surroundings that most everyone would expect from a rustic setting so far from the traffic and congestion of city or suburban living. But since May 2015 ” and even before that as construction on a new mega-dairy built by California’s Vlot Brothers Dairy ” that idyllic piece of land she worked on and cared for has faded.

Many days I have to hurry to feed my livestock because the sewer stench assaults my senses. I can’t go onto my deck to enjoy a cup of coffee and enjoy the view. I can’t enjoy a meal outside or even with a window open. The stench is growing worse daily.  

Continue reading Kim’s story.

Don’t Miss it! Sustainable  Now Available

Sustainable is a vital investigation of the economic and environmental instability of America’s food system, from the agricultural issues we face ” soil loss, water depletion, climate change, and pesticide use ” to the community of leaders who are determined to fix it. Sustainable is a film about the land, the people who work it and what must be done to sustain it for future generations.

The narrative of the film focuses on Marty Travis, a seventh-generation farmer in central Illinois who watched his land and community fall victim to the pressures of big agribusiness. Determined to create a proud legacy for his son, Marty transforms his profitless wasteland and pioneers the sustainable food movement in Chicago. Sustainable travels the country seeking leadership and wisdom from some of the most forward-thinking farmers like Bill Niman, Klaas Martens and John Kempf heroes who challenge the ethical decisions behind industrial agriculture. It is a story of hope and transformation, about passion for the land and a promise that it can be restored to once again sustain us. Find a screening near you!  

SRAP has been excited to work with Filmmakers Annie Speicher and Matt Wechsler on their next film Right to Harm  about the health effects of factory farming on rural Americans. The film is set to premiere in 2018 so stay tuned!

Upcoming Events:

Durham, North Carolina March 16, 2017:  Come to the Table 2017 Conference: A biennial gathering of food, faith and farm advocates focused on relieving hunger and strengthening local, sustainable agriculture in North Carolina. More info.

Nebraska March 14-16, 2017:    A series of meetings with nationally-recognized poultry contract grower and Whistleblower Craig Watts. More info.  

Georgetown, Delaware March 23, 2017: 6 p.m. Sussex County Planning & Zoning 2 The Circle, Georgetown, DE 19947 Hearing for Conditional Use for Blessing Blends Compost Facility. Contact for more information.

Salem, Oregon April 4, 2017:  Family Farms Mean Business Rally  The Family Farms Mean Business day at the State Capitol will include educational workshops, a noon-time rally on the Capitol steps, an indoor ‘farmers market’ to promote the positive impact of direct marketing and small farms, and more. More info here.

Indianapolis, Indiana April 22, 2017: Indiana CAFO Watch will have a booth at  Earth Day Indiana. You are invited to stop by and say hello. For more information contact Barbara Cox at

Socially Responsible Agriculture Project