Nationwide, pork production has dropped by more than 20 percent over the last month, and industrial farmers find their barns filling up. Now, the "end for hundreds of thousands of pigs is likely to arrive in an orgy of waste that turns the stomachs of even the most pragmatic," writes Elizabeth Royte, in FERN's latest story. "Asked to describe how a farmer decides to 'depopulate' — the word of choice — a barn full of market-ready pigs, David Newman, a Missouri pig farmer and president of the National Pork Board, sighs heavily. 'It’s a tremendously emotional time to be in the livestock business. We’re trying to be creative.'”(No paywall)
In January, Iowa became the latest state to have its ag-gag law overturned by the courts, a victory for free speech and animal-rights advocates. But the victory was short-lived. This month the state’s legislators revived ag-gag with a new law that targets undercover investigations into livestock farms — and it comes as ag-gag supporters across the country are looking to craft laws that will survive constitutional challenges.(No paywall)
Some 63 percent of U.S. hogs are raised under contract to a processor, nearly double the 34 percent that were sold under contract 20 years ago, said the USDA. Ninety percent of poultry and eggs are produced under contract. Tobacco and sugar beets also are in that range.
Although leaders of two national farm groups called for a federal shield to protect farmers from lawsuits by neighbors, chairman Chuck Grassley of the Senate Judiciary Committee said on Tuesday that states should decide land use questions. "At least at first blush, based upon states' rights—I could be maybe convinced otherwise—right now, I'd have to stick to what is a pretty general philosophy that I have on being against federal land use, both from the standpoint of what can be done and what can't be done," said Grassley, from Iowa, the top hog and egg-producing state.
As a young man, Johnny Carroll Sain dreamed of owning an industrial hog farm like his uncle. Eventually, he did, raising hogs for Cargill on 55 acres in northern Arkansas. He's out of the business now, and in FERN's latest piece, published with Arkansas Life, he explores how industrial meat production has damaged the environment, the economy, and the social cohesion in his rural community. (No paywall)
On Wednesday, the North Carolina General Assembly overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto to pass into law the Farm Act, which expands the state’s right-to-farm law. The law now greatly restricts farm neighbors’ ability to bring nuisance lawsuits against farm operations for air, water, and soil pollution.
Governor Roy Cooper vetoed a controversial bill that would have made it nearly impossible for neighbors of factory farms to sue farming operations for negative quality of life and health outcomes associated with living near large livestock confinements.