10 August 2007

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

A Factory Farm Near You” (editorial, July 31) is in a time warp.

Yes, concentrated animal feeding operations, or “factory farms” as you call them, are a key feature of modern agriculture. And, yes, they are increasing in number as farmers attempt to survive the challenges of modern global agricultural economics. But today these livestock operations don’t have to be unwelcome neighbors in their communities.

You did not mention the tremendous progress made in ensuring that these farms are environmentally sound. At least as far as hog farms are concerned, catastrophic manure spills are a thing of the past. In fact, the study cited in the editorial had to reach back eight years to 1999 to find a major environmental problem associated with hog farming.

America’s pork producers have met the environmental challenges and are proud of their achievements. The pork industry has acted on its own over the last decade to solve water-discharge problems and create top-shelf manure management systems. Producers like me are ready to comply with tough new Environmental Protection Agency regulations that protect the nation’s water supply, by adopting a policy of zero discharge into rivers and streams.

There are still challenges remaining, such as tackling the issue of unpleasant odors emanating from hog farms, and pork producers continue to address this issue. Recently they have invested millions of dollars into research conducted by Purdue University. But the progress of the last decade should not be ignored.

Jill Appell
National Pork Producers Council
East Altona, Ill., Aug. 1, 2007

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