Let’s Keep Calm and Fight Factory Farms in 2018
Happy New Year from all of us at SRAP!
As we begin a new year, we look back at all we have accomplished in 2017 and look forward to all the opportunities 2018 may bring. Last year was among our busiest yet and what better way to have concluded it than with our Factory Farm Summit. The Summit was a huge success with great attendance, excellent presentations and effective community building to strengthen the national citizen network opposing the adverse impacts of industrial livestock operations.
One of the highlights of the Summit was Maryland State Senator Rich Madaleno’s announcement to sponsor the Community Healthy Air Act (CHAA). The CHAA would require the Maryland Department of the Environment to conduct a study to examine the impact of air emissions from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO’s). This is a step in the right direction for Maryland in holding CAFO’s accountable for their actions.
In other big news, another community in Kansas has said No! to a Tyson Foods processing plant after weeks of public opposition. Sedgwick County, home to Wichita, has taken itself out of the running for the project. While Tyson may have run out of steam in Kansas, the company plans to construct a massive chicken processing facility, hatchery, and feed mill in Humboldt, Tennessee. Big poultry is also planning expansion in Arkansas as Simmons Food announced its plan to build a chicken processing plant in Benton County.
On the Eastern Shore, residents of Millsboro, Delaware are dealing with the aftermath of groundwater pollution that has been linked to Mountaire Farms local processing plant. Mountaire Farms has been cited by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, after it was discovered that workers bypassed crucial steps in the factory’s wastewater treatment process leading to the contamination of nearby wells.
In the midwest, we’ve received news of our first victory for the New Year. One of our local partner groups from Illinois was able to prevent a hog facility proposal from moving forward. The Lonesome Acres, LLC 2,000-head hog operation in Hancock County will not be breaking ground due to opposition from neighbors. In a rare but welcomed instance, the local contractor elected to abandon the project. We hope to see more of these types of wins in the coming year!
We hope you start 2018 with renewed hope, optimism and faith and we wish you a happy and healthy 2018 as we continue to stand tall and fight to protect communities from factory farms.
Chief Executive Officer
Citizens Standing Up, Fighting Back: Monica Brooks
Monica Brooks came a long way to live on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Originally from San Francisco, she never imagined she’d find herself living in a small town on the opposite side of the country. After working for Motown Records, she decided on a life change and headed east to attend bible college While there, she met and married her husband. Monica quickly embraced the community and its rural lifestyle, and put down roots in Salisbury. Living a much quiet rural life was a real surprise, but she never imagined that she’d also become involved in a turbulent two-year fight to protect her community’s air and water from the threat of a poultry concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) coming to her new home.
Highlights from Factory Farm Summit 2017
The second annual Factory Farm Summit in Ocean City, Maryland, was a roaring success with a great turnout. The event brought together leading experts on factory farm issues along with individuals from communities impacted by factory farms from across the country and even Canada!
We kicked off this year’s Summit with the Factory Farm Tour through Somerset County, Maryland, where poultry CAFOs have altered the rural landscape. Renowned agricultural economist and SRAP board member Dr. John Ikerd joined the tour and shared insights about the impacts of poultry CAFOs. Dr. Kirkland Hall of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Tamara Toles-O Laughlin of the Maryland Environmental Health Network also provided expert commentary about how CAFOs impact surrounding communities.
The Summit boasted an outstanding array of speakers and presentations. Chief Dennis J. Coker of the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware kicked off the event with a special presentation on the interconnectedness of all living things. Christopher Leonard, author of the Meat Racket – the Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business, gave a presentation on America’s changing food landscape and signed copies of his book. Maryn McKenna, author of Big Chicken, also gave a talk about how antibiotics have changed modern agriculture.
We would like to give special thanks to our sponsors, Assateague Coastal Trust, Concerned Citizens Against Industrial CAFOs, Protecting Our Indian River, NAACP Wicomico County Branch, and the national organizations Food & Water Watch, ASPCA, Farm Aid, and the 11th Hour Project. Most importantly, we would like to give special thanks to all those who attended and presented at the summit; you continue to be an inspiration to all of us!
Boscobel, Wisconsin, January 20th: SRAP, along with various grassroots organizations throughout the country, will co-sponsor the forum Industrial Ag in the Driftless: How do we Protect our Communities? Dr. John Ikerd will also deliver the keynote speech, Defending our Rural Communities Against Economic Colonization. Find more information here.
Millsboro, Delware, January 23rd: The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Surface Water Discharges Section (DNREC-SWDS) will hold an amended permit application and public hearing regarding the storage of sludge generated at Mountaire Farms. If you plan to give public comment at the hearing, you should register with the presiding officer no later than January 22, 2018 by emailing Robert.Haynes@state.de.us.
Peoria, Illinois, February 24th: Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water (ICCAW) will be holding their annual meeting at the Kickapoo Creek Winery. Dr. John Ikerd will be the keynote speaker for the event. Also speaking are SRAP organizer Craig Watts and Food & Water Watch’s Assistant Director, Patty Lovera. The event will include lunch and a wine tasting. For more information, email Karen Hudson.
Ft Wayne, Indiana, March 16th: Dr. John Ikerd will be speaking at the IPFW Rhinehart music center on the impact of industrial farming on our environment and watersheds. This event will be free and open to the public. Find more information here.
Socially Responsible Agriculture Project