Values, beliefs put farming at risk

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Editor:

I have decided to risk writing too often because I’m hearing and reading things that make me fearful that our farm way of life is in grave danger. It isn’t from terrorists but from our own values and beliefs.

I have read editorials in Farm and Dairy saying McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s have banned the use of meat from “downed” animals and have made plans to create programs for handling and stunning cattle before slaughter.

This year, the Food Marketing Institute and National Council of Chain Restaurants hope to finalize a set of animal welfare standards from birth to slaughter.

Another editorial said New Jersey state legislators are considering a bill that would prohibit veal calves from being tethered in individual stalls, among other production management practices.

Ironically, there are no veal producers in New Jersey.

Bob Cochrell, a veal producer and a recent past president of the American Veal Association says, “Wake up, Ohio and Pennsylvania, because it’s coming.”

He thinks New Jersey was chosen as an easy mark to get the movement started.

My last Outlook pamphlet from the Ohio Livestock Coalition says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its new rules for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Dec. 16.

Under this rule all CAFOs will be required to apply for a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System, submit an annual report and follow a plan for storing, handling and applying animal manure and waste water.

If you’re thinking Belmont County farmers aren’t big enough, it goes on to say, “No matter the size of livestock, dairy or poultry farm, if it’s an animal feeding operation, it may be designated a CAFO, if it’s found to pollute surface waters. The rules don’t permit exemptions and include chickens, immature swine, dairy cows and heifers.”

I’m wondering if agriculture will be regulated out of business similar to coal and steel industries.

We know pollution is serious, and the image of a family farm with a few cows, pigs and chickens running loose is being replaced by corporate factory farms.

As a Farm Bureau member, I have been opposed to strenuous regulations for many years.

I find it contradictory to insist that small animals must be kept inside but large animals must not be confined, even in bad weather.

At our Farm Bureau Leadership Conference in August I heard a speaker say farmers needed to consider the desires of consumers more, and he warned of harsher regulations being enacted to force changes in the way farm animals and birds are raised and killed.

Glenna Cain

Belmont, Ohio

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