Issues: Media Reports

WORT 89.9 A Public Affair interview with Mary Dougherty and Scott Dye about the Factory Farm Summit

Great interview August 29 on WORT 89.9 A Public Affair with Mary Dougherty and Scott Dye about the Factory Farm Summit and the importance of sustainable ag and clean water

Today, Patty hosts Scott Dye and Mary Dougherty, discussing a frequent yet very important topic on the show: clean water.

Scott Dye, a regional representative with the Socially Responsible Agriculture Project, also known as SRAP. Scott Dye owns a 130-acre farm in northern Missouri, where his neighbors include the eighty thousand hogs of a concentrated animal feedlot operation.

Mary Dougherty is the co-founder of the group Farms Not Factories, a group whose mission is to advocate “for the protection and stewardship of the land, air and water in the Lake Superior Basin by promoting sustainable agriculture and policies which support environmentally sound, socially responsible and profitable agriculture.”

Both Dye and Dougherty going to be at the 2016 Factory Farm Summit: Demanding Accountability in Animal Agriculture, which will take place in Green Bay, on September 10-11.
— WORT 89.9

Jim Zorn — Town of Eileen Wisconsin Resident

Jim Zorn lives a 1/2 mile away from the proposed Badgerwood CAFO and its 26,000 hogs in the Town of Eileen. He's concerned about how those Iowan hogs will impact his quality of life and the ability to enjoy his home. 

Based on the evidence generated by social science research, we conclude that public concern about the detrimental community impacts of industrialized farming is warranted. In brief, this conclusion rests on five decades of government and academic concern with this topic, a concern that has not abetted but that has grown more intense in recent years, as the social and environmental problems associated with large animal confinement operations [CAFOs] have become widely recognized. It rests on the consistency of five decades of social science research which has found detrimental effects of industrialized farming on many indicators of community quality of life, particularly those involving the social fabric of communities. And it rests on the new round of risks posed by industrialized farming to Heartland agriculture, communities, the environment, and regional development as a whole.
— A 2006 report commissioned by the North Dakota Attorney General (which reviewed 56 socioeconomic studies regarding CAFOs impacts on rural communities)

Jim has every right to breathe clean air, drink clean water and continue to enjoy the quality of life he's come to expect in northern Wisconsin. And it's not fair or reasonable for Dale Reicks, a hog CAFO owner from Iowa, to ask Jim to sacrifice his rights for Reicks bottom line.

Click the arrow to view the video.

Larry Fickbohm — Farmer in Port Wing, Wisconsin

Good farmers, who take seriously their duties as stewards of Creation and of their land’s inheritors, contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows. These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery.
— Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food

Larry Fickbohm is a fourth generation farmer who grew up in Chickasaw County, Iowa and owns a 300 acre farm outside Port Wing, WI. He bought his farm in 1991, and raises cattle, sheep and hogs. 

When Larry testified before the Bayfield County Board of Supervisors in February 2015, he had this to say about his home state, "We would take jugs of water from our tap because we didn't want to drink the water in Chickasaw County. Now, we have lots of tourists that come up here from Iowa....has anybody ever heard of an Iowan bringing tap water to Bayfield County?"

Larry is a family farmer who takes his responsibility to the animals he's raising and the land he's cultivating seriously. And his commitment is in stark contrast to Dale Reicks, his 40-plus hog CAFOs and annual production of 2.95 million four-ounce servings of pork.

Click the arrow to view the video.

Mike Wiggins on Home, Heritage, Food, and Politics

Mike Wiggins, Jr., former chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe Tribe, is a life-long resident of northern Wisconsin. He speaks eloquently about the importance of protecting and conserving our environment so it will continue to provide for future generations.

The proposed Badgerwood CAFO is sited in the Fish Creek Watershed and the 10 million gallons of manure produced yearly by 26,000 hogs will be land-spread or injected into farm fields in the Fish Creek Watershed, less than 8 miles from Lake Superior.

"The Kakagon and Bad River Sloughs wetland complex represent everything our Tribal People hold dear and sacred on many different levels. Spiritually, the ‘place’ and everything it has, the clean water, the winged, the seasons, the rice and fish, connects us with our ancestors and the Creator. The Sloughs sustain the physical well-being of our community with foods such as wild rice, fish, cranberries, waterfowl, venison, and medicines. From an Anishinabe (Chippewa) world-view perspective, the wetlands ecosystem is a tangible representation of our values of caring for the environment. The international Ramsar recognition is an honor for the Bad River Band and maybe even more importantly, the recognition sends a message about the importance and critical need for biologically productive and water rich areas such as the Kakagon and Bad River Sloughs wetland complex. There is water purification, ecological harmony, and people who are interwoven into this ‘place’ where the Bad River Reservation dovetails with Lake Superior.” ~ Mike Wiggins, Jr. 

Read about the Kakagon Sloughs, a RAMSAR Wetland of Importance. 

Click the arrow to view the video.

Jeff Bodin and the Fisheries of Lake Superior

Jeff Bodin is a fourth generation fisherman and runs Bodin's Fisheries, a family-owned fish house  in Bayfield, Wisconsin. He's concerned about the impact the proposed Badgerwood CAFO, with its 26,000 hogs and 10 million gallons of manure (produced annually), will have the fisheries of Lake Superior. 

The proposed Badgerwood CAFO is sited in the Fish Creek Watershed and the 10 million gallons of manure produced yearly by 26,000 hogs will be land-spread or injected into farm fields in the Fish Creek Watershed, less than 8 miles from Lake Superior. 

The Wisconsin DNR estimated that the Fish Creek watershed accounted for 20 percent of Lake Superior’s self-sustaining, migratory fisheries and spawned 47,000 one-year-old migratory trout and young-of-the year Coho salmon in the 1990s.

The Badgerwood CAFO and the farm fields that will receive its manure is upstream from this sensitive and important fish spawning and nursery grounds and, given the self-reporting/self-regulating nature of the CAFO industry, is extremely vulnerable to the water pollution that often accompanies industrial agriculture. 

Read Fish Creek Watershed Management and Restoration 2011 for more information. 

Click the arrow to view the video.




Deb Lewis and the City of Ashland's Drinking Water

Deb Lewis is the Mayor of Ashland, Wisconsin and she's deeply concerned about the impact the proposed Badgerwood CAFO's 26,000 hogs and 10 million gallons of manure will have on the drinking water of Ashland's 8,130 citizens.  

The proposed Badgerwood CAFO is sited in the Fish Creek Watershed and the 10 million gallons of manure produced yearly by 26,000 hogs will be land-spread or injected into farm fields in the Fish Creek Watershed, less than 8 miles from Lake Superior. The threat to Ashland's drinking water from agricultural run-off can not be overstated because they get their drinking water from the Chequamegon Bay in Lake Superior. 

Mayor Lewis is right to be concerned; her constituents drinking water is at risk due to the expansion of factory farms into the Lake Superior Basin.  

Please read Ashland's Source Water Assessment for more information.  

Click the arrow to view the video.

FDA Report Shows Antibiotic Use in Livestock is Sky High & Growing

Chart from the article. Click to enlarge.

Newly released FDA data on antibiotics in agriculture show that use is on the RISE. NRDC's Avinash Kar parses out the details and why swift policy action is needed.

The latest numbers on sales of antibiotics for use in meat and poultry production show we need government action to end the overuse and misuse of the drugs in livestock.

New 2014 sales data released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today reveals that sales of medically important antibiotics for use in livestock have increased a whopping 23% between 2009 and 2014, with a 3% increase from 2013. And an overwhelming 96% of these sales were for use in animal feed and water—which is generally done for the purpose of growth promotion or disease prevention in animals that are not sick.

This is troubling when livestock sales already represent about 70% of sales of medically important antibiotics in the United States. Overuse of antibiotics in the agricultural industry helps increase the prevalence of drug-resistant superbugs. Two million Americans suffer from drug-resistant illnesses every year, and more than 23,000 die as a result.
— Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Blog

Read the article here.

My Neighbor the CAFO

Letter to the Editor, Ashland Daily Press,  Nov 27, 2015

After living at my residence for 35 years, I am experiencing the impacts of the Badgerwood CAFO, and it hasn’t even moved in yet! This spring, representatives of Reicks View Farms including Brady Reicks, a Public Relations Specialist, the feed manager and a Livestock Manager visited my residence and weeks later followed up with a phone conference to answer my questions about odors, manure, drainage and the effect on my water supply. My buildings are 30 feet from Reicks land. During the visit from Reicks representatives, I was told, “Farms stink! That is the reality of the situation.” And, “if you have contamination of your well water, you will never be able to prove that it was the CAFO that caused it.” As a health and science teacher and having farmed all my life, I am very concerned about the manure that may be laced with drugs for herd health, along with the pesticides and herbicides that will find their way into my yard.

As a good neighbor, the Reicks View Farms representatives stated they would refrain from spreading manure if I had an outdoor family gathering planned so as not to “stink” me out. I know there is a short window of opportunity to spread manure on red clay fields. To suggest Badgerwood would refrain from spreading some of the 6.8 million gallons of manure for me to have a family gathering — really? The days of enjoying outdoor family activities, appreciating summer breezes to naturally cool my home, and the fresh scent of line dried laundry will soon be only memories from the past.

One hot summer evening the Crop Manager from Reicks View Farms stopped in to tell me to move my honey bees or contain them for 24 hours as farm employees planned to spray cornfields adjacent to my property for army worms. The evening spraying required a restricted use pesticide, Permethrin. Package instructions for Permethrin state: “This product is highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment on blooming crops or weeds.” Have you ever tried to lock up 70,000 bees per hive, in four hives, in the dark, while trying to keep them adequately ventilated from the summer heat? I did, and I had the bee stings to prove it. My bees survived, but after the pesticide application my nesting bluebirds disappeared. I can only assume what the bluebirds were feeding on.

A study committee for the Town of Eileen has stated that traffic on Curry Road, the road where the CAFO will be located, will increase by 50 percent. Curry Road borders my property on the west. Increased traffic yields increased dust.

With the Badgerwood CAFO right next door, my property value is sure to decrease, and selling my home may be nearly impossible. I have been told renting my home will not be a problem. CAFO workers, from out of this area, will need housing. With my home just south of the CAFO it will be an ideal rental property.

Prior to the CAFO, my hobby farm was a prime site with the largest fresh water lake in the world a short distance away. My family enjoyed a country living with all its sights and smells. Now, with the proposed largest pig factory in Wisconsin next door, life will never be the same.
— Steve Stipetich Ashland, Letter to the Editor, Ashland Daily Press, Nov 27, 2015

Community Health Impacts of Factory Farms

"Steve Wing received his Ph.D. in epidemiology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is currently an associate professor. Recent work has focused on environmental injustice and health effects of ionizing radiation, industrial animal production, sewage sludge, and landfills. He has collaborated on health and exposure studies with communities and workers impacted by threats to environmental and occupational health."

Kewaunee’s Message to Wood County

"It is too late for the Kewaunee county residents to prevent the CAFOs from invading the place they call home. They are forced to resort to holding what ground they have by attempting to do what the state will not, regulate the CAFOs and hold them accountable to the havoc they are wreaking on the county's water. In this meeting, they took a stand to enact a "Groundwater Protection Ordinance" that would extend the requisite soil depth down to the carbonate bedrock from 5 feet to 20 feet.

It's not too late for Wood County to keep itself safe from the CAFOs."

Using the Legal System to Fight Factory Farms

Michele Merkel is co-director of Food & Water Justice, the legal arm of Food & Water Watch. Food & Water Justice uses the court system to advocate for positive change and provides legal support for Food & Water Watch’s mission to ensure that the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainably produced. 

Don't Let the Good Food Movement Become Only Feel Good

Kendra Kimbirauskas grew up on a pasture-based dairy farm in the Midwest. Kendra’s community organizing work took her to rural communities in Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota before she moved to Oregon in 2003. Kendra joined the Socially Responsible Agriculture Project (SRAP), and in 2012, she became Chief Executive Officer of SRAP. 

The Community Loses when it Loses Farmers: Impacts of a Changing Local Farmland Market

"The Goldschmidt Hypothesis, which argues that large-scale farms undermine a community’s social-economic well-being, and social capital theory, which holds that broad engagement builds a strong community social fabric, are employed in analyzing the social impacts of agricultural restructuring. Findings indicate that the emerging restructured land market and the consequent increased competitiveness undermine the trust and norms of reciprocity among farmers and between farmers and town-residents. The ideal of “bigger is better” chased by local farmers has the unintended consequence of eroding the historically important community participation of local farmers.

Farmers are now involved in only those activities that directly affect them and less so in activities that broadly contribute to community well-being, such as service clubs. Farmers and townspeople often travel to work which results in the transfer of their shopping, services obtained, and recreational activities from local providers to where they work in the county seat or nearby cities. Both farmers and townspeople report knowing fewer community members than 10 years ago, reflecting a decline in network size, and the regular social interactions indicative of close-knit community. These factors are leading to the decline of the historically interdependent relationship between farmers and their community, and the degrading of a sense of community."

Read Daniela Manhani Mattos dissertation here


Community Health and Socioeconomic Issues Surrounding Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

"A consensus of the Workgroup on Community and Socioeconomic Issues was that improving and sustaining healthy rural communities depends on integrating socioeconomic development and environmental protection. The workgroup agreed that the World Health Organization’s definition of health, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” applies to rural communities. These principles are embodied in the following main points agreed upon by this workgroup. Healthy rural communities ensure a) the physical and mental health of individuals, b) financial security for individuals and the greater community, c) social well-being, d ) social and environmental justice, and e) political equity and access. This workgroup evaluated impacts of the proliferation of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) on sustaining the health of rural communities. Recommended policy changes include a more stringent process for issuing permits for CAFOs, considering bonding for manure storage basins, limiting animal density per watershed, enhancing local control, and mandating environmental impact statements."

Read the article here

Social and Community Impacts of CAFOs

"The impacts of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) should be judged in
terms of their socioeconomic impacts on rural Iowa and its communities as well as their
impacts on human and animal health. Regulations and management practices should support
socially and economically desirable community outcomes, as well as protect human and
animal health. It is the role of government to select from among the regulatory options that
contribute to economically viable, socially equitable, and environmentally sound
communities (President’s Council on Sustainable Development, 1996)."

Read the Iowa State University paper here. 

Factory Farms and Environmental Racism

"While pollution is almost everywhere, certain communities are burdened with a disproportionate number of facilities that fill the air, soil, and water with contaminates. Typically found in communities of color and low-income communities, industrial polluters such as landfills, trash incinerators, coal plants, and toxic waste dumps affect the well-being of residents. Their health is also often compromised due to a lack of access to healthy foods in their neighborhoods. Those who work on environmental justice issues refer to these inequities as environmental racism."

Read the Food Empowerment Project article here. 

Dr John Ikerd and Industrialized Agriculture

Dr John Ikerd speaks the truth about the dirty business of CAFOs.

"According to Dr. Ikerd, virtually every program that has come out of the USDA during his career has in one way or another subsidized specialized, standardized, and consolidated production. Consumers ultimately pay the cost of the risks inherent with these types of operations. We also pay for subsidized credit that allows farmers to expand their operations.

“I think it was all intended well. When I was out here talking to farmers about specialized, standardized, “get bigger or get out,” I really thought it was for the basic good of the consuming public, because what we were told, and what we believed, was that we were going to make good, safe, and wholesome food affordable for everyone. We were going to bring down the cost of agriculture production. It would bring down food costs to the point where everyone could have access to enough wholesome foods to support a healthy, active lifestyle. But we didn’t do that.”

Today, we have a higher percentage of people who are food insecure or go hungry in the US than we had in the 1960s, before widespread industrialization started. About 15 percent of Americans are now classified as being food insecure. More than 20 percent of American children live in food insecure homes.

So while the industrialization of agriculture lowered production costs, and to some extent made certain foods (read processed foods) less expensive, the system has completely failed to secure food for all. Forty percent of the US corn crop in the last several years has in fact gone toward producing ethanol rather than producing food for hungry people.

As Dr. Ikerd notes, "that's the part of that industrial agricultural system that's driven by the economic bottom line — the system I promoted. I look back now and I see the flaws in that system, but it took me a while to realize that not only was this system not good for the animals, for the farmers, for the land, and for the whole community; it wasn't even good for consumers. The problems we're creating pose real public health risks for the consumer."

Read the article here. 



Bayfield County Groundwater Results

"A report on groundwater and wells near the proposed site for a large hog farm shows that the area's soil composition makes it more susceptible to runoff pollution.

The farm that Iowa-based Reicks View Farms plans to build in Bayfield County near Lake Superior would be the largest hog farm in the state, holding about 26,000 pigs. The company plans to spread roughly 9 million gallons of manure across around 1,400 acres at the site each year by injecting it into the soil."

Read the WPR report here

Read the Ashland Daily Press article here

Al Jazeera’s Series on Wisconsin’s Water Woes

"There are so many lakes in Wisconsin that not even half of them have been named.

With some 84,000 miles of rivers and streams, more than 15,000 lakes, millions of acres of wetlands and more than a quadrillion gallons of groundwater, Wisconsin has long been a model for environmental conservation and a destination for those looking to enjoy nature.

But residents, environmentalists, and researchers say that legacy and the state’s water resources are under threat. While the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) secretary became a politicized appointment 20 years ago, many say Gov. Scott Walker’s administration has had an unprecedented impact on the state’s natural resources, and that Wisconsin’s bountiful waters are more imperiled than ever.

In the past 10 years, the number of frac sand mines in Wisconsin has grown from five to more than 60. The number of dairy CAFOs — concentrated animal feeding operations — ballooned from 50 to 250. There are more than 3,000 high capacity wells — which pull at least 70 gallons of water out of the ground each minute — in one region alone, up from fewer than 100 five decades ago." 

Three part series: 

Politicized Environmental Agency Threatens Wisconsin’s Water

The Vanishing Lakes of Wisconsin’s Central Sands

Something’s in the Water in Kewaunee County