To the editor:
Two weeks ago, 40 disgruntled rural homeowners met with confined animal feeding operation operator Mike Keller and TriOak officials to express their extreme displeasure with the new CAFO they?ve started to build virtually in our backyard.
With 1,249 hogs, this will be one of the closest CAFOs to the city of Fairfield, and will directly affect 115 households within a 2-mile radius. Based on the experience of other neighbors with CAFOs close by, we anticipate days when we won?t be able to sit on the porch or even open a window. Our property values will plummet. And someday, we fear, we may have to abandon our homes altogether when they become unlivable and unsellable at any price.
Ironically, the day before our meeting, I received a phone call from an anonymous farmer who confided that he also opposed the Keller CAFO, but wouldn?t go public for fear of being ID?d as a traitor by his fellow farmers. Sadly, many Iowa farmers are in this boat, and I appreciate their predicament. But Iowa farmers have smarts, grit, and heart, and pride themselves on being good neighbors. More than a few are courageously opposing CAFOs, and there must be many more who feel the same way.
Farmers need to think of their children and grandchildren. In contrast to the myths promoted by TriOak and other integrators about factory farms being the family farms of the future, there?s plenty of scientific proof that CAFOs are a health hazard, a threat to waterways, groundwater and air quality, and bottom line?a lousy excuse for farming. Factory and farming should never be used in the same sentence because they?re antithetical.
Instead of anticipating financial rewards from CAFOs, farmers and non-farmers alike should prepare for an upsurge in antibiotic-resistant infections and respiratory problems, not to mention the wanton destruction of the beautiful Iowa countryside.
Putrid tons of pig excrement is not the smell of money ... except for industrial integrators like TriOak.
I don?t have a beef with pig farming, which has been an Iowa tradition for decades. I do have a problem with Iowans being manipulated by corporations and special interests that have bought and controlled our elected officials in Des Moines, D.C. and at the DNR ? and opened the door to unwanted CAFO expansion.
For the tide to turn, it?s time for us to turn to Iowa?s farmers whose dissenting voices need to be heard. Instead of allowing CAFOs to ride roughshod over our state, it?s time for our strong farmers to stand in solidarity with their neighbors for real farming which is our heritage.
Today, our way of life is in serious jeopardy. We applaud Iowa farmers who?ve already opposed CAFO expansion, and thank all the others who are now prepared to take a stand. Thank you for being courageous and letting others hear your opposition to the CAFO scourge that?s overtaking our state. We can?t stop the CAFO onslaught without your help! We?re all in this together.
- Dean Draznin, Fairfield