1. As a citizen you can contact to the Governor and your legislators and call on them to:
* Eliminate tax breaks for industrialized farm operations that feed and house livestock and poultry in confined conditions
* Support expanded programs for conservation of agricultural lands.
* Impose, through current regulations and the state permitting process, full accountability for air, land and water impacts of these operations and their wastes and wastewaters. Full accountability includes:
a. Requiring that any permit be cosigned by the individual or corporate owner of the hogs as well as all operators of the facility.
b. Requiring that any confinement building should be equipped with biofilters or other air scrubbing or filtration system demonstrated to be effective to control dust and odor emissions from the building.
c. Requiring a detailed manure management plan, designed and certified by a trained agronomic professional must be required to demonstrate that the manure and associated liquids will be managed so as to prevent nuisance and pollution. The plan is needed both to prevent contamination of streams and groundwater from excessive or improper land application, and to prevent odors caused by exposure of the injected manure to the air.
d. Requiring a detailed groundwater protection plan, characterization of the geological setting proposed for land application of wastes from such operations; including identification of any aquifer capable of beneficial use and quarterly monitoring or other data indicating seasonal water table elevation, quality and groundwater flow patterns.
e. Providing sufficient setbacks should be provided to assure no nuisance odors from injection areas and from the confinement building. Setback distances should be a minimum of 5,000 feet from any soil injection area or confinement building to any property line in order to protect the full ability of adjoining property owners to utilize their properties. A general prohibition on creation of nuisances should also be included. Setbacks should be increased as size of facility increases, and all confinement buildings should be required to use filtration.
f. Berms should be constructed around fields accepting landspread wastes, to assure that no runoff contaminated with nutrients is discharged into streams or lakes.
g. A bond should be provided to assure that the facility will be properly closed and any spills or releases cleaned up. Liability insurance should be required sufficient to pay any judgments or claims from third-parties, including third-party injury claims for nuisance or loss of property value.
There are pending today before the Cabinet nine permits seeking to construct and operate industrial hog feeding operations in Hickman and Fulton Counties. KRC has commented extensively on them, calling for each of these conditions to be included in any permits issued. Your letter before November 3 to Secretary Wilcher at LaJuana.Wilcher@ky.gov and David Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org can make a difference.
* Adopt and revise state policies to protect and conserve our agricultural land base and to encourage the next generation of small, diversified farms. Remove barriers that prevent locally-grown, healthy foods from competing in the marketplace on a fair basis.
Agricultural operations are the heart of real “homeland security” and have, and will again, be the source of not only food but a range of good, products and services that the petroleum economy has been providing at far greater ecological cost for the past century. George Washington Carver once observed:
I believe that the great Creator has put ores and oil on this Earth to give us a breathing spell…as we exhaust them, we must be prepared to fall back on our farms, which are God’s true storehouse. We can learn to synthesize materials for every human need from things that grow.
2. As a voter you can attend public forums and make environmental quality and a healthy farm economy an issue in local, state and national elections.
Where does the candidate or effected official stand on these issues? What will their plans and policies be?
3. As a consumer you wield significant clout and can exercise your market muscle:
Some 20% of the GNP is state and local government purchasing. Urge adoption by the institutions of which you are a part – church, school, civic organizations, city, county and state government, of policies supporting fair and healthy food purchasing that place a premium on healthy food grown and produced in a responsible manner. Urge city, county and state governments to explore incentives and disincentives that affect the market share of such produce and livestock.
Talk it up, where you shop, where you work, where you eat. Is this food purchased locally and grown or produced responsibly?
4. As educators, (and are all educators), we can learn more about the “footprint” of our food and teach our families, our friends, our children, and our leaders to value farms, farmers and community.
5. Join those organizations, like the Community Farm Alliance, Sierra Club, EarthSave Louisville and other sponsors of the Healthy Food – Local Farms conference who are in the field (and in the fields) working to advance these values.