It is shameful to see a state representative (and lawyer) from Fayetteville write a column that suggests he supports and sides with farm families – then repeats almost verbatim the tales told by out-of-state lawyers who are seeking money from our lawfully operating farms.
Richardson refers to “pits” on our farms. He should know better. These treatment systems were designed by scientists and permitted by the state for farmers – who were encouraged to use them to ensure our economy in rural North Carolina would remain strong.
These systems have been operated well and soundly for decades, through Democratic and Republican administrations. They do a remarkable job of capturing, storing and treating waste – and protecting the environment in the process – which is why other industries and some municipalities also use them.
Billy Richardson should use more care in maligning an important industry in North Carolina. He should visit a farm, which our industry has pleaded with the judge to allow for the jury to do.
What he will find is that lagoons have very little, if any, odor.
We can’t turn photos into scratch-and-sniff. And we get it – look at a photo of a lagoon, and you might think it’s smelly.
That’s not the data. It’s not the experience of our neighbors. It’s not what reporters who actually visit the farms say, either – the last being critic Ned Barnett of the N&O. He wrote of visiting a 15,000-hog operation of Morris Murphy:
“I visited on a clear, hot day. I didn’t smell any hog waste odor at Murphy’s house. The air was free of odor as we took a golf cart tour of the property.”
Sadly, Richardson has swallowed whole hog the talking points of his lawyer buddies who are trying to profit from the lawsuits.
He should educate himself instead of seeking to politicize our farms just in time for the fall elections.
What he would see is that the majority of citizens are showing tremendous and heartfelt support for our farm families.
What he would see is that the farmers he claims to have reverence for are being sued out of business by those in his profession who do not have North Carolina’s interests in mind.
He is showing faux loyalty to farmers. And real loyalty to plaintiff’s lawyers.