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Industrial Agriculture:
National / International Edition

News Items on Minnesota's Plan
to Destroy Family Farms
by Weakening Local Control
Over CAFOs

New York Times Editorial: Fighting for Local Control

December 2, 2004

Given the results of the election, voters' power should be
strong and healthy in rural America. Perhaps it is when it
comes to voting for statewide and national offices, but not
when it comes to local environmental issues - especially
concerning factory farms. The latest example is Minnesota.
Unlike Iowa and Wisconsin, Minnesota still retains the
principle of control at the township level. Local residents
can, for instance, decide whether they want a large-scale
hog-confinement operation next door. That has kept
Minnesota relatively free of the mammoth factory farms that
have polluted Iowa.

But last year Gov. Tim Pawlenty convened a 14-member
advisory group - a virtual cross section of industrial
agriculture in the state - to find ways to increase the
number of livestock in Minnesota. The task force released
its report last June. Its principal recommendation is to
weaken local control in order to remedy what the report
calls "the lack of predictability and uniformity" in the
creation of factory farms.

The report also advises exploring the possibility of
raising the number of animals allowed on such farms before
environmental reviews kick in and moving the approval
process to the state capital. And it attacks Minnesota's
Corporate Farm Law, which prohibits corporate farming.

The report has caused an uproar, for good reason. It's a
blueprint for the destruction of family farming in
Minnesota. The way to aid animal agriculture isn't to sell
out to corporate interests or make rural residents feel
powerless. It's to increase the diversity of Minnesota
farming, build new markets and preserve rural life. Massive
feedlots and hog-confinement operations do none of that.

This report is the result of a one-sided task force, whose
advice was assembled without consulting a wide range of
Minnesota farmers. It fosters one-sided agriculture, driven
only by corporate interests. The concentration and
homogenization of animal agriculture, which ultimately
depends on underpriced grain, has been a social and
environmental disaster in the Upper Midwest. The evidence
isn't hard to find. All Governor Pawlenty needs to do is
take a drive through central Iowa, where corporate factory
farms are a blight on the land.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


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This webpage from
Concerned Citizens of Hartford
24 February 2005