hog farming

Fayetteville Observer Editorial: The Part He Left Out

Chad 04Tim White began by referring to North Carolina’s lagoon and spray field system – which is mandated by state law and regulated by the state government – as a primitive waste-disposal system.  Just like the Texas lawyer in the nuisance trials in Raleigh, he painted a gloomy picture of hog farmers, saying that “mists of sprayed swine effluent drift from farm fields to coat nearby houses or cars” and that “neighboring home values have had the daylights kicked out of them.” And, finally, he described the passage in the General Assembly of the 2018 Farm Act as a bitter partisan wrangle with Republicans on one side and Democrats on the other when, in fact, the bill was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.Let’s see if we can’t add some color to the dark, gloomy picture Mr. White painted of the pork industry in North Carolina.Smithfield Foods has invested over 17 million dollars in research – done by leading professors at North Carolina State University – to develop new and better ways to manage hog waste.  In addition, Smithfield was obligated to employ any new method that the professors found to be both effective and economically feasible.  However, none of the research yielded that result. Mr. White left that out of his op-ed.Mr. White also seems unfamiliar with home values in rural eastern North Carolina counties. I built my home on our family farm right in front of our existing spray field and it appraised last year for more than when I built it in 2010.  Compare that to Mr. White telling readers that hog farms have kicked the daylights out of their neighbors’ home values.Finally, one last word about the 2018 Farm Act: Democrats and Republicans came together to stand with the people who work hard to provide a safe and healthy food supply for this country.

I respect Mr. White’s right to voice his opinions about hog farming. But, at the same time, people need to hear facts instead of political rhetoric. And facts were the part of the story Mr. White left out. Lastly, once again, I’d like to thank Lt. Governor Dan Forest, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and Democratic – and Republican – lawmakers for their efforts to protect NC Farm Families.

--Chad Herring, Executive Director of NCFF  

Let's Shoot Straight Mr Dove

The Waterkeepers leader in North Carolina, Rick Dove, just posted a comment on Farm Families’ Facebook page, and he doesn’t like our video Eighteen Years Ago.Our video tells the story of what happened, almost twenty years ago, when Mrs. Elsie Herring complained about a hog farmer spraying too close to her home: How the company investigated her complaint, agreed with her, moved the farmer’s irrigation equipment and planted a wide buffer of trees between her home and the farmer’s field.That happened almost twenty years ago. But, a few months ago, one of the Waterkeepers’ allies reported, on its website, the farmer was spraying too close to Mrs. Herring’s house now.We made a video to set the record straight. And Rick Dove didn’t like that. He claimed our video was “alternative facts.” Here’s the video so you can judge for yourself:[video width="960" height="540" mp4="http://ncfarmfamilies.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/elsie-herring.mp4"][/video]Not long ago, Rick Dove had a problem with ‘alternative facts’ himself.The morning after Hurricane Matthew, Dove set out to spin a story to the press about an environmental disaster – and blame it on hog farmers. So he climbed into an airplane to fly over flooded farms to take photographs.We know now, according to state records, only one half of one percent of the lagoons on hog farms were inundated during the floods. One other lagoon on a shuttered hog farm (that hasn’t had a hog on it in five years) had two minor ‘breaches.’ In all, on 99.5% of the hog farms, nothing happened to harm the environment.But that wasn’t the picture Rick Dove and the Waterkeepers wanted to paint. So he resorted to a ruse: He posted nine pictures, all taken from a plane, all taken at different angles, of one flooded farm. But he didn’t explain, This is one farm. He posted four pictures of another farm, two of another, four of another. Dove even posted a picture of a flooded municipal waste treatment plant in Hookerton and called it a hog farm.Dove then spun his story to the press. The Washington Post even published Rick Dove’s photo of a flooded municipal waste treatment facility in Hookerton and called it a hog farm.Those were “alternative facts.” And Rick Dove hasn’t set the record straight.