Factory farms pose an ‘existential threat’ for rural Wisconsin communities

The rural landscape in the US is changing drastically: The days of the independent family farm have given way to industrial agriculture and factory animal farms. In states around the country, from Iowa and Minnesota to North Carolina, the expansion of Big Agriculture and the factory farming industry has dramatically altered local economies and communities, using up communal resources while posing serious threats to public health and the environment. Far from halting this trend, governments at the state and federal level have worked with powerful industry groups for years to incentivize large-scale farming operations and to make it increasingly difficult for local governments to adequately regulate these operations. But resistance from within rural communities, stretching across political lines, is mounting.

At this very moment, farmers, residents, and environmental advocates in three rural counties in Wisconsin—Polk, Burnett, and Crawford—are engaged in a battle to protect their communities against the construction of two proposed concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which would collectively house roughly 34,000 hogs. Residents fear that the millions upon millions of gallons of liquid manure produced by these CAFOs every year, along with their many other impacts, could cause irreversible damage to their land, air, water, property values, and ways of life. As part of a special collaboration with In These Times magazine for “The Wisconsin Idea,” TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez traveled with Cameron Granadino (TRNN) and Hannah Faris (In These Times) to Crawford, Polk, and Burnett counties to speak with residents about their concerns and about their struggles to defend themselves against Big Agriculture and the factory farming industry.

Pre-Production: Maximillian Alvarez, Simon Davis-Cohen, Hannah Faris, Cameron GranadinoStudio: Cameron Granadino, Stephen FrankPost-Production: Cameron Granadino, Stephen Frank, Kayla Rivara

The Wisconsin Idea is an independent reporting project of People’s Action Institute, Citizen Action of Wisconsin and In These Times.

Read on source website...

Author: TheRealNews.com

The Real News Network (TRNN) produces independent, verifiable, fact-based journalism that engages ordinary people in solving the critical problems of our times. As legendary journalist Ida B. Wells said, “The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.” We examine the underlying causes of the chronic problems, and investigate and report on effective solutions and models for change. We don’t just cover people in high office or limit news to the partisan horse race for power. People who fight for human rights and work for solutions are newsmakers. We believe that real change will be driven by the people who need it most. While we report on and investigate all important issues of social and economic concern, we consider the climate change crisis an existential threat. In all of our programming and journalism, the impact of environmental degradation and the climate crisis, especially on marginalized people, and the urgency of finding solutions will be front and center. Our motto is “The Future Depends on Knowing.”