Why the Waterkeepers' Mantra is Wrong

baldwinThe Waterkeeper Alliance has released nine new videos attacking North Carolina hog farmers. Let’s take a look at the first one, which they’ve posted on YouTube and promoted (paid to run) on Facebook.The Waterkeepers video repeats the same old mantra they have tried to foist on people for years. They say-- There are a lot of hogs, there are mountains of waste, and there’s not enough land to absorb it all. Now, that’s just plain dead wrong. And the Waterkeepers know it. Here’s why:A farmer can’t just build a hog farm and go into business. They have to obtain a permit from the state. And to get that permit, they first have to tell the state two things: How may acres of land they have on the farm, and what crops they are going to raise.Next a state lab, using soil tests and agronomic rates, calculates how much manure those crops will consume as they grow.Then, finally, the state uses the lab’s data to determine how many hogs the farmer can raise on their farm without over-applying manure to the land.It’s that simple: How much land the farmer has and the crops they grow determine how many hogs they are allowed to raise.In addition, state officials inspect every hog farm each year to verify the farmer is complying with every one of those regulations. If they don’t, the state can put that farmer out of business.But you won’t see those facts in these Waterkeeper videos. They just scream, There are a lot of hogs, there are mountains of waste, and it’s gotta be polluting. But, in fact, the whole system – from permits to studies in state labs to state inspections – is designed to protect the environment. Here’s a video that tells a story about how one farmer, James Lamb, has worked to comply with state regulations to protect the environment for almost two decades.The Waterkeepers just keep on spinning. But, of course, it’s all just politics. The hard part is, when the Waterkeepers play politics, hard-working farmers – like James Lamb –  get hurt.