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Organic Consumers Association

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Cook Organic not the Planet Campaign

Rural Community and Family-Owned Farm Wage War Against Factory Farms

Clearly Ronnie Cummins, international director of Organic Consumers Association, is not alone in thinking that “It’s time to step up the attack on factory farms and the entire degenerative food and farming system.”

Two new allies waging war against Big Ag include a small family farm in Minnesota and residents of a rural Delaware community.

Family-Owned farm at war with neighboring factory farms

In a bold “David-and-Goliath” type move, the owners of a small-scale farm in Dodge County, Minnesota, an hour southeast of the Twin Cities, are standing their ground after neighboring Ripley Township issued permits for a 2,400-hog operation on just five acres of land. It’s estimated that the hog farm will produce more than 45,000 pounds of liquid manure a day. According to City Pages, 88-year-old Lowell Trom and his family have filed a lawsuit against Ripley Township and the owners of the new farm.

The Trom’s lawsuit alleges that the issuing of the permits violates an ordinance adopted by Ripley Township more than 15 years ago, stating that only 33 pigs should be raised on every five acres of land.

The Troms, whose family-owned farm has been passed on from generation to generation for 75 years, have put up with nearby factory farms for years. Eleven feedlots stand within three miles of their farm, using in excess of 40 million gallons of water and producing more than 11 million gallons of liquefied manure a year. These factory farms are causing irreversible damage to the surrounding soil and water, and polluting the air with an unbearable stench.

Manure is high in nitrates, phosphorus and antibiotics, residues which seep into the earth and are absorbed into the food supply, Lowell’s daughter Sonja told City Pages. Manure washes into the headwaters of the Cedar River, fostering E. coli bacteria. Thousands of hogs share the aquifer, draining people's wells, Sonja explained.

The Troms feel enough is enough and they seek your support.

Residents threaten lawsuit against America’s seventh largest chicken producer

Delaware residents are fighting Mountaire Farms, a chicken-processing plant operating in the town of Millsboro. Residents are “threatening legal action if the operation doesn't take steps to prevent the waste it generates from contaminating local water supplies and wells,” according to Politico Pro.

According to the notice of  intent to sue, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has documented “elevated and rising nitrate levels in monitoring wells surrounding spray irrigation fields, a strong indication that Mountaire has applied its wastewater in excess of agronomic rates.” Residents have also concluded that “the excessive nitrates and other contaminants contained in these nearby wells are directly attributable to Mountaire’s improper practices of storing, treating, transporting and disposing (through application or otherwise) of solid wastes.”

Consuming this contaminated water puts the locals at risk of severe health problems, such as cancer, autoimmune system dysfunction and methemoglobinemia (also known as blue baby syndrome).

If Mountaire Farms fails to address its contamination problems within 90 days of receipt of the intent to sue letter issued on March 27, Delaware residents will file a lawsuit against the chicken producer under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Mountaire Farms also has operations in Maryland, Arkansas and North Carolina.

Support the fight against factory farms

According to Cummins, it’s necessary to switch our “degenerate food, farming and land use system to one that is regenerative” in order to stabilize public health, the environment and the climate.

To set the wheels in motion, consumers must ditch GMO foods, boycott factory-farm animal products, discourage the use of Monsanto’s Roundup and support the independent testing of brand-name foods.

Supporting farms that employ regenerative farming practices, such as the Main Street Project, will help turn the tide against factory farms and make regenerative food and farming the norm by 2025.

Organic Consumers Association is a nonprofit consumer advocacy and grassroots organization. Stay up-to-date with OCA’s news and alerts by signing up for our newsletter.


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