Too many Critics with Not Enough Credentials are Berating Hog Farmers

Have you ever been working on something, only to have someone who knows little about the subject tell you how to do it better? Ever felt like no matter what you do, it won’t be good enough?

Well, that’s how many hog farmers felt at the recent stakeholders meeting for the Swine Waste Management System Draft Permit.

Already one of the most regulated industries, hog farmers are facing even more regulations thanks to activist groups. It isn’t that hog farmers are opposed to regulations, we are opposed to pointless regulations based off misinformation.

At the permit meeting, representatives from the Waterkeeper Alliance and other groups, sat side by side with those who know the permit best—farmers and pork industry leaders who live an breathe this permit every day of their lives.

The meeting was filled with concerned people. Environmentalists were concerned with increasing regulations while farmers were concerned with explaining the futility of those additional regulations. Overall, it’s frustrating for others to call for regulation after regulation when farmers are working so hard to farm the right way.

There were also those who were experts in the subject and those who were not.

For example, the current state permit requires farmers to calibrate their irrigation equipment which includes pumps, reels, center pivots, and airway systems every 2 years in order to accurately monitor how much nitrogen and effluent is being applied to crops. One woman stood up during the public commenting session and thought this calibration was referring to lab equipment and suggested it be calibrated daily. The point is not the request, but rather the fact that she was requesting something without correct knowledge about the subject. Yet another comment was made comparing hog farms to waste-water treatment plants, suggesting we should be more like them. The fact that was failed to be mentioned was how often human waste is discharged and spilled into our waterways. We don’t expect everyone to know the ins and outs of hog farming, but if you are going to comment, please be well-informed.

To top it off NC Policy Watch’s Lisa Sorg wrote yet another slanted article titled “Swine farmers, hog industry turns out in force to oppose revisions to draft permit.” Her lengthy article was filled with concerning statements. One example is when Sorg decided to compare enforcement actions against water treatment plants and hog farms to how much revenue each of them produces. She compared the revenue of a small population town to the entire Smithfield company (apples to oranges anyone?).  As if it’s okay that a small population town that generates less revenue, spills untreated wastewater into state waters, but it isn't okay if hog farmers do. Revenue aside, neither should be spilling waste. It’s absurd that such comparisons be made, but that is par for the course from NC Policy Watch.

In short, there are too many critics with not enough credentials berating the hog industry. Farmers are experts in their field. Trust them.

-Chad HerringExecutive Director of NCFF