Rural Advocacy Groups: Corporate Farming Infringing on MO Family Farms
Tuesday, August 29, 2023
Despite the goal to unite Missourians around a common cause, rural advocacy groups have been pushing
the EPA for more regulation from the Clean Water Act on corporate farming.
Tim Gibbons, communications director for the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, said the Clean Water Act has not been adequately updated since the industrialization of the livestock industry and factory farms are infringing on the rights of rural family farmers, including their property, water and air.
"At the state and federal level, it's a race to the bottom relative to protecting people who have oftentimes lived here for generations," he said. "What we're doing is not only asking both our state government and our federal government to protect us from these types of operations - corporate operations specifically - but also change some rules so that we can ensure that family farmers stay on the land."
According to a report from Food and Water Watch, a single hog produces around 1.5 tons of manure every year, and all the hog farms in the U.S. produce a total of about 167 million pounds of waste ... equivalent to the waste produced by half the country's human population.
Large scale livestock operators argue corporate farming is more efficient than small scale family farming and does not negatively impact water and air quality, or the livability of communities. Gibbons said rural Missourians and family farmers understand the negative impact that corporate control has had on their lives over the prices they are paid, and they also understand at the consumer level that Missourians are paying the highest prices.
"Their goal is to be able to set up these industrial livestock operations, for example, like 7,000 to 10,000 sows next to family farmers that have lived there for generations. and their mantra is, 'If you don't like it, you can move,'" he explained. "That's not how Missourians treat each other, that's not how we treat our neighbors. But, unfortunately, that's how corporate agribusiness treats people."
This month, the EPA denied a 2017 petition urging the agency to strengthen its factory-farm water pollution regulations under the Clean Water Act. The EPA has instead announced it will form an advisory committee to study the concentrated animal feeding operations' pollution problem and make recommendations on how to regulate them in the future.
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