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The Land of Stinkin’: When a Mega Dairy Takes Over

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 07:53 PM
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The Land of Stinkin’: When a Mega Dairy Takes Over
from Civil Eats:




The Land of Stinkin’: When a Mega Dairy Takes Over
April 14th, 2011

By Dan Imhoff


Imagine a series of pits that, if combined, would cover an area 40 acres in size carved 20 feet deep. Laid out as a perfect square, each side is 1,320 feet long, enough to hold 16 football fields. Now imagine it full of millions of gallons of festering manure from over 5,000 dairy cows plunked down into rural Jo Daviess County in northern Illinois. Imagine also, that these cesspools would be excavated from a porous Karst geological formation, with the propensity to percolate directly into the groundwater, along with a cocktail of nitrates, phosphorous, hydrogen sulfide, bacteria, and other substances like antibiotic drugs.If your state’s Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t bother fulfilling its obligations to permit such potential pollution hazards under the Clean Water Act, you have little choice but to start your own citizen activist organization. For three years, the HOMES group (Helping Others Maintain Environmental Standards) has been emptying its pockets for attorneys fees, organizing rallies, documenting abuses, and constructing a legal case against a California mega-dairy that wants to—as they see it—invade their community, an agricultural region with many legacy farms spanning multiple generations.

The challenge before the HOMES group is made all the more difficult because Illinois communities have lost the ability to refuse the zoning of an industrial animal factory operation in their area to protect public health. “Local control” over such decisions, in Illinois as in many other states, has been relegated to the state level. In fact, just this week a HOMES’ group appeal was denied by the Illinois Supreme Court, affirming that the state’s Department of Agriculture has the ultimate say in CAFO siting decisions. It also limits citizens’ rights to sue the Department of Agriculture for improper implementation or enforcement of regulations.

I participated in a community discussion about CAFOs sponsored by the HOMES group last week. It was an opportunity to listen to talks from long-time activists Dr. Kendall Thu of Northern Illinois University (contributor of a great essay to my CAFO book) and Dr. John Ikerd, retired agricultural economist at the University of Missouri, whose work greatly informed the book’s pieces on the community impacts of industrial animal factory agriculture. I also had a good chance to meet other committed anti-CAFO activists, such as grain farmer Karen Hudson and public interest attorney Danielle Diamond, both with the Socially Responsible Agriculture Project.

This leg of the CAFO outreach campaign started about an hour outside of Chicago, driving west and south through the Land of Lincoln, known by the anti-CAFO activists as the Land of Stinkin’. There are over 3,200 CAFOs in the state, primarily hog and dairy operations. To pump a steady stream of feed into these protein factories, Illinois produces a staggering amount of corn. We drove for hours and hours at the 65 mph speed limit, passing field after monoculture field of corn, fields right up to the highway, right up to farm houses, right next to mutated suburban developments with barely a forest or hedgerow or clump of trees in sight. In this day of soaring commodity prices, soaring demand for animal feed and ethanol, farms are planted, as they say, “fencerow to fencerow.” .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://civileats.com/2011/04/14/the-land-of-stinkin%E2%... /



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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 08:24 PM
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1. imagine a world where people don't use dairy or eat dead animals - problem solved nt
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