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 Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed

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PostSubject: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed to increase pollution to their neighbors!   Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:03 pm

For years feedlots and the relaxation of pollution standards sanction corporate farming and hurt neighboring family farm families.

Below see the support from family farm groups concerned about corporate feedlots in Minnesota.

Should South Dakota support corporate feedlots.

Gov. Pawlenty Proposes to Dramatically Weaken Environmental Standards for State’s Largest Feedlots
Family Farm & Environmental Groups Oppose Plan, Calling on
Governor to Respect Science & the Rural Environment

CONTACT: Bobby King, LSP, 612-722-6377, 507-450-7258 (cell)

11/23/05
SAINT PAUL, Minn.—Twenty-seven environmental and family farm groups are calling on Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty to withdraw his proposal to significantly weaken the rules governing environmental review of the largest feedlots in the state.

“A healthy livestock industry and meaningful environmental protection are not incompatible. Weakening the rules for environmental review will harm Minnesota’s environment and is out of step with values important to Minnesotans,” wrote the coalition in a letter (see below) to Gov. Pawlenty.

The proposed rule change, which will be considered by the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) at a specially scheduled Dec. 9 meeting, would double the size feedlots can be before environmental review is required. The EQB will review the proposed rule and decide whether or not to begin the rulemaking process. The rulemaking process can require that the state defend the proposed change before an administrative law judge.

“Environmental review of the state’s largest feedlots is supported by the best science and by common sense,” said Bobby King of the Land Stewardship Project. “This proposal is driven by corporate special interests, not the interests of family farmers and rural residents. The Pawlenty administration wants to weaken the rules and bring more factory farms into Minnesota.”

Currently, environmental review is required for proposed feedlots that are 1,000 animal units or larger. This has affected only the largest 4 percent of feedlots in the state. One thousand animal units are equivalent to, for example, 3,333 hogs weighing between 55 and 300 pounds or 714 mature dairy cows. Eighty-three percent of the state’s livestock farms are less than 300 animal units, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

“Clearly, doubling the mandatory threshold from 1,000 to 2,000 animal units is not geared towards the needs of the many thousands of family livestock farmers in Minnesota, but rather the largest agribusiness interests,” wrote the groups.

The proposal to weaken the environmental review process was the result of recommendations from the Gov. Pawlenty’s Livestock Advisory Task Force.
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lightninboy
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:48 pm

Can you get me a list of the Minnesota counties which allow townships to control zoning?
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PostSubject: There are no townships that regulate feedlots.   Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:24 pm

There are no townships that regulate feedlots. Feedlots are 950 animal units are regulated by the county and over are regulated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:40 pm

It is true that some Minnesota counties let townships have some zoning control, isn't it? Some Minnesota counties don't have a Planning and Zoning Commission just like some South Dakota counties don't have a Planning and Zoning Commission, right?

http://www.p2pays.org/ref/21/20030.htm

http://www.landstewardshipproject.org/programs_organizing.html

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2006/02/28/livestockfriendly/

http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/caucus/dem/MemberNews/2004/dist07/20040309_Solon_Local_Control.htm
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PostSubject: We need family farmers!   Fri Oct 10, 2008 8:33 pm

We need family farmers! I am very concerned that we continue to miss the point. In our efforts to talk about feedlots we miss the issue. Large steel plants, large chemical company plants and big business as a whole do little to clean up the mess they create.

Did you know that in the VALADCO case, a subdivision of Cargill, VALADCO located a gigantic how waste water treatment plant over the city reservoir water supply?

This remains a disaster waiting to happen. This big corporation had financial ties to then Governor, Arnie Carlson.

In large part the state and counties control most of the feedlot issues and most of the state wide politicians are bought and paid for.
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lightninboy
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:12 pm

I asked Land Stewardship Project which Minnesota counties allowed and got this reply:


"All Minnesota townships by state law have zoning powers as strong as
cities. Counties can not restrict this right. Most townships do not
chose to use them but many have when unsatisfied with the county.

LSP manual on township zoning is at:

http://www.landstewardshipproject.org/pdf/township_manual06.pdf

Bobby King"


I was under the impression that not all Minnesota
counties had Planning and Zoning departments and not all Minnesota
counties allowed township zoning, but on Natural Resources Defense
Council it looks like Bobby King is right:

Local Control
Minnesota allows local governments within the state to regulate
feedlots within their jurisdictions, as long as regulations developed
are not preempted by or in conflict with state statutes and rules.
State law explicitly allows local ordinances to be more stringent
than those of the state.19 Many local governments have chosen to
exercise this option, though many others have not.

http://www.nrdc.org/water/pollution/factor/stmin.asp


Here is what Natural Resources Defense Council says about South
Dakota:

Local Control
Many counties have zoning, but the ordinances were drafted at a time
when the state had very few factory farms. Approximately one-third of
the counties have no zoning at all, while many other counties have no
reference to CAFOs in their zoning ordinances.21
According to John Bixler of Dakota Rural Action, when proposals for
new factory farms crop up in local communities today, counties
scramble to figure out how to react. Rather than taking the time to
put together a carefully considered zoning ordinance, county
commissioners feel the pressure to move quickly and make do with an
inadequate ordinance or adopt a hastily drafted proposal. Local
zoning ordinances relating to feedlots vary widely from one county to
another. The confusion is so great in some cases that it is hard for
citizens to know the rules.
One county may require a simple majority for approval of a zoning-
related decision while another county may require a super-majority
for an identical decision. One county may have the zoning board make
zoning related decisions, while in other counties the zoning board
simply makes recommendations to the county commission. In some
counties, the zoning board is also the county commission. Sometimes
the same group of five or seven people is asked to make a decision as
the zoning board and then has to adjourn and reconvene as the county
commission to make the final decisions. This in turn causes much
confusion over public notice for hearings.

http://www.nrdc.org/water/pollution/factor/stsda.asp
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lightninboy
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:20 pm

<font color="black"><font face="Times New Roman">[size=18]I got from the South Dakota Association of County Commissioners a partial list of the South Dakota counties with Planning and Zoning Commissions and the South Dakota counties without Planning and Zoning Commissions.


<font face="Times New Roman">County Has a P&Z Commission? Comments

Aurora Yes

Beadle

Bennett No

Bon Homme

Brookings Yes

Brown

Brule Yes 5 member Board,and a P&Z Director

Buffalo Yes 5 members

Butte Yes

Campbell No

Charles Mix

Clark Yes

Clay Yes

Codington Yes Also has a P&Z Officer

Corson No

Custer

Davison Yes

Day Yes Register of Deeds is the Secretary

Deuel Yes

Dewey No

Douglas

Edmunds Yes

Fall River

Faulk Yes

Grant Yes

Gregory Yes

Haakon

Hamlin Yes

Hand

Hanson

Harding Yes Auditors office is Administrator

Hughes

Hutchinson Yes

Hyde Yes

Jackson No

Jerauld Yes

Jones

Kingsbury Yes Commissioners act as Board

Lake Yes

Lawrence

Lincoln Yes

Lyman Yes Commissioners act as Board

McCook

McPherson Yes

Marshall

Meade

Mellette

Miner Yes

Minnehaha

Moody Yes Commissioners act as Board

Pennington

Perkins No

Potter

Roberts Yes 2 Commissioners serve + 3 others

Sanborn Yes 4 + 1 Commissioner, meet first Thursdays

Shannon

Spink Yes

Stanley Yes

Sully Yes Also has a P&Z Director

Todd No

Tripp No

Turner Yes

Union Yes

Walworth Yes

Yankton Yes 13 member commission

Ziebach


The South Dakota Association of County Commissioners also gave me a link to a map of South Dakota Planning Districts. Click Here
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lightninboy
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:14 pm

Having a Democratic majority in government does not guarantee a preference for family farming over corporate farming.

Take Iowa for an example.
Terry Branstad, Republican governor January 14, 1983-January 15, 1999, favored corporate farming. However, Iowa has had Democratic governors since January 15, 1999. Tom Vilsack, January 15, 1999-January 12, 2007, and Chet Culver, January 12, 2007-now.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor_of_Iowa
The Democratic Party has a majority in both the House and the Senate.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iowa_General_Assembly
Local control of CAFO zoning was taken away in 1995 and has not been restored.
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:17 pm

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PostSubject: There needs to be a promotion of family farms.   Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:27 pm

In another thread there appeared to be an attempt to debate whether large feedlots are inherently harmful.

I did not say, that all large feedlots are harmful, nor have I advocated the extinction of the family farm.

There appears to be an increase need in milk in the area and family milking operations have been unable to entirely meet this need.

Here is my position, I hope clearly stated. All of us have to learn to get along better and debate these subjects so that we continue to understand other parties.

A state or national policy that promotes corporate farms and corporate feedlots will destroy rural America as we know it and will eliminate family farms.

Large corporate farms and large corporate feedlots need to be closely examined for pollution, noise and dust problems created by these larger feedlots to protect other cattle raisers in the area, usually small family farmers.

Just like a large coal producing electric plant needs to be scrutinized because of the significant increase in unwelcomed by-products so do large feedlots need to be scrutinized.There needs to be an understanding of the large producers that there farm may have an extremely detrimental effect on family farms, schools and downtowns.

Once again, it is the policies of eliminating family farmers that create significant problems to our rural economies.
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:45 am

Some of the Grant County Concerned Citizens took field trips all over SD and MN to look at what these farms have done to their areas, they talked to the neighbors, they stopped at the courthouses.
It wasn't pretty.
If you don't have a lot of time for research go to stopcorporatefarms.com and read some of the editorials there. They are mostly locally based. All the columns of that Bill DuBois wrote for the Dakota Farmer are there. A real interesting editorial from Amy Thompson of Brookings called Got Water? is worth the read.
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:09 am

If there is a shortage of conventional milk in the area how come it is down to about 11cwt?
To break even a producer needs to make about 17cwt.
Is there really no shortage at all, or is it one more way to try to shake out the small producer knowing that they cannot hang on very long at that price?
I am not a milk expert but i have some close friends who are, both conventional and organic. Organic has also taken a hit, but it is much smaller.
So i am wondering if there is really a shortage.
Has the new cheese plant in Hull IA made any difference to local production? Have any local producers signed on with them?
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:10 am

Rumor has it, the Green Meadows cheese plant isn't even getting milk yet, from others, Just from his own dairies.
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:19 pm

According to your beliefs is it ownership or size that causes pollution?
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:26 pm

I have a question for mouthpiece, the expansion of grain farms occured as farm income went up and the number of small farms went down. Grain farms expanded, renting and buying land that used to be in smaller farms and the small dairies dissapeared at the fastest rate inthe 70's to mid 90's. Grant county got it's CAFO dairies after the expansion of grain farms. The size of Schnecks grain farm gave him the capital to build the first big dairy in Grant County. Did the expansion in the size of grain farms eliminate small farms in Minnesota in the 70's and 80's also? Did large livestock operations come there in the mid to late 90's also?
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PostSubject: Cannot follow logic   Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:08 pm

I cannot follow your logic.

I most certainly do not agree with your first sentence. First farm programs promoted large farms and then because of the detrimental effect of these programs changes in the programs were made. Policies in Washington D.C. had much more importance in promoting large farms then in your single example.

I also disagree with your second sentence. Livestock farmers, including dairies generally did better than crop farmers in the farm crisis. The reason is very logical. Livestock farmers want lower crop price so they can feed their cattle cheaper. The cattle farmers did better as a result.

I think there is an attempt to minimize the harm large corporate farms create especially when one is making good money. Thge logic here is it worked for me therefore it must be good for the rest of the county.

If we build 50 farms in Grant County this size we would have a significant population decrease, reducing students in our school, creating fewer businesses downtown and gradually the demise of the county.

I do not question your farm, but if you are attempting to claim that a policy of large farms is good for Grant County I want a study not an example. I received my rural development emphasis in Kansas a cattle state and almost all experts disagree with your position.
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:08 am

In our area of the county there are no really huge farms, grain or livestock. And few people have just one or the other most still have somewhat diversified farms. Some have grown as families have grown, 2 or 3 kids make for some necessary expansion. There are no studies but if you talk with the people who live in our area as opposed to south of Milbank I think that there is more satisfaction with their neighborhood and more general prosperity, by that i don't mean just income or the size of homes, south of town there are some really big places, but it would be interesting to compare debt, work satisfaction and as far as beauty we win hands down.
Bob Weber put it perfectly when he said he has had cattle in his pasture for 60 years and there are still fish in his stream, but his friend south of town has none.

Slightly off topic....The other night B. Du Bois suggested we all get together and purchase a gerometer to measure hydrogen sulfide levels, since the state of SD does not think we need one. I wonder if some of the twps would consider such a purchase.
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:05 pm

nurse Measuring hydrogen sulfide isn't that easy. Based on the research that has been done, it should take 20,000 cows under normal operating conditions to release 100 lbs/day.
That is the EPA reportable level. You should see if Grant Center Township wants to buy a gerometer. They have the most money in the bank and don't seem inclined to use it on road maintenance.
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joelie hicks
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:34 pm

I have talked to the person in MN who does this all the time.
they do not measure in lbs, they measure in ppb.
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PostSubject: dairies are new farms   Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:33 pm

I looked up dairy and beef numbers for Grant County South Dakota. 1965 beef 11,000 Dairy 12,500
In 1975 18,800 beef and only 8500 dairy. I will look for 1985, 1995 and 2000. It could be that we lost beef cattlemen but the numbers stayed up because of the expansion of cattle operations. There were some 1,000 animal unit size beef feedlots back then but not dairy. Sometimes a feedlot helps a family keep their farm without expanding acres.

The population of Grant County has been declining since 1920 with the steepest decline so far between 1960 and 1980, before the big dairies came here. Grant County population continues to decline.

Building a new livestock farm where there was only grain before is adding a farm to a county. If the dairy is small enough would you count it as a new farm? You need to tell me how small a new dairy can be to be counted as a farm. Maybe in your county every quarter has a farm on it now? We don't have that many farms today. If a new farm does not come in we can't grow our farm numbers. There are not enough children of the local people staying to farm to increase the numbers.

The Riverview dairy project would have increased the population. The protestors objected to the population increase: 33 line workers, 5 managers and office personnel was the plan. That many new residents made me nervous too. Riverview does use a recruitment plan and builds housing on site for the line workers and only one of the managers was going to stay in Minnesota. Roughly that's what they told me, I couldn't say if that's what would have occured in the end. It made me uneasy because it was a big big project, but I didn't object to the plan, I didn't object to line workers even if they were going to be mostly Mexican. But you always have to watch and participate and make sure the plans are followed and regulations adhered to. But 37 new residence do raise the population and builidng a dairy on a bare quarter of ground that Riverview obtained from a big grain farm is a new farm. The Mil valley dairy south of Milbank was also built on a bare quarter as far as I know. The Lippens dairy and the Vanlith dairy are not huge but they are permitted for 750 cows or more. Family membrs work full time but also hire some help, some are latino. Don't they count as population in your beliefs? Maybe your county is quite different.

I think we should allow good new farms, farms that can take care of their employees or follow environmental regulations. What kind of new farms do you promote?
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PostSubject: can large livestock operations continue to save the family farm?   Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:24 pm

alot of family farms in Grant County have big feedlots, some have big dairies. It's not possible to draw a line to say some of these families are wrong and some are right. Joelies farm expanded it's cropland and feedlot in the 70's. Many farms were lost in Grant County inthe 70's. Of course farm size increased when the number of farms went down. Somebody always farms the land- whoever can afford it and wants to take the risk. Some families started big beef feedlots, big for those days being a 1000 head. That helped them earn income that was needed to get the kids to come back and farm. From 1960 to 1970 SD lost 11,400 farms, that's more than we lost because of the dirty 30's. From 1974 to 1979 JUST 3 years, SD lost 6,000 farms (NASS.usda.gov). In Grant County Dairy cattle numbers had been rising until 1974 and then dropped by 10,000 head by 1975. Sudden farm loss, dairy cattle loss spells dairy farm loss. I say that a large number of our dairy farmers ended up in the dairy buy out program and the loss had nothing to do with dairy CAFO's. So banning CAFOs won't bring them back either. We had beef CAFO's then but not dairy. We are still going to have large livestock operations here tomorrow, many of the same ones started by families in the 70's.

I didn't look up the time table for Minnesota's farm losses. It could be quite different. I will be interested in your comment.
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:33 pm

:study: In 1977 South Dakota had 166,000 milk cows and produced almost exactly the same amount of milk as they did in 2007 with only 85,000 milk cows. I wonder which version is better for the environment? And probably half of the cows today are on farms regulated and inspected by the DENR. And that would be half as many cows belching methane into the ozone layer and causing global warming, that should comfort everyone that is worried about cows destroying the planet. And the folks at PETA should be happy because that means half as many cows get killed and ground for hamberger at the end of their productive life. And many of the cows that are left are on large farms that don't raise their own feed. Instead they purchase the feed from their neighbors which increases the income per acre for those mostly family farmers. What if we still had twice as many cows to feed this past year when corn and beans were scarce wordlwide because of the biofuels debacle. I can see plenty of positives about having larger and more efficient farms.
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:14 pm

Linda;
What you write is interesting, and food for thought. But please, with all due respect do not act as though you know what we do and when when we bought cropland etc. You do not know much about how we farm. I never claimed that manure from our cattle had no impact on water, unlike the cafo people. But 3 of us went and looked at the quarters that were part of the riverview plan all of them have waterways going through them, some were in Lura twp and by revillo, not very efficient.
. I think their hope was when they got their permit, the local farmers would change their mind about permits.
And covering cropland with cement is not an improvement in my opinion.
I don't think any of us are going to convince each other to change their mind so i think i am done with this thread. But it has been interesting.
True scientists not hired by agribusinesses do not tend to favor mega operations.
Howard, what about all the bull calves and non producers that are born? All that hamburger is tough on the beef market.
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PostSubject: Corporate farms continue to fail   Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:31 pm

When I testified in St. Paul on this very subject there was a saying that seems appropriate. “There are a lot of well meaning people that cause significant harm by not understanding the real issue.”

Both ligthinrod and Lindas use statistics in an illogical way to reach an unsound conclusion.

Both claim that because we have fewer cattle and the same production that this means that corporate farming is working. Lightninrod points out that 20 years ago there were 166,000 dairy cows and today that number is 85,000. The claim is that this means that corporate farms are more environmentally safe and the 85,000 help crop farmers consume crops.

First, this logic fails to consider the significant changes in dairy operations including the use of hormones, better feeding practices and better milking practices. To make this claim fails to consider the real reasons why milk production has increased and the use of statistics in this fashion is deceptive.

The claim is also that corporate farms are more environmentally sound is also deficient. The reason large corporate farms with concentrated cattle in feedlots create enormous amounts of dust, disease, odor and noise issues that are harmful to those around them. This requires significant environmental concerns to the extent that government had to mandate legislation to monitor corporate farms.

The real concern and argument that has not been addressed is the decrease in population caused by the dairy buy out and other farm programs. Lindas claims that providing on-site housing for 17 families she is increasing population in Grant County. Creating low paying jobs vs, secure family farms creates transient workers that actually harm our schools because of their transient nature and hurt downtown because of the low pay.

Bottom line is this. For the last 100 years the family farm has fed the world and the corporate farms in other countries have failed miserably. Why do we want to experiment with something that has already failed?

As I have said before, a policy that eliminates family farms are harmful to our rural communities. A corporate farm or two does not necessarily have this effect.

It appears that at least two in this thread are claiming corporate farms should by policy be replaced by family farms. Unfortunately the reasoning used is grossly flawed.
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PostSubject: Re: Should Corporate Farms as found in large feedlots be allowed   Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:26 am

For someone who is ignorant of farming this thread has been most informative. Jolie has made a good observation. She came in and made her comments and then let it drop. You all have convictions and the purpose of this discussion is not to convince the other person but to discuss both sides of the issue so that people like myself who don't know about it will have the opportunity to learn more. This was so much better than reading any old article. You were all lively and engaging. Thanks for giving the input.

I will have to admit that I got lost in some of your techno jargon but the gist of the debate was understood.

We need the milk and small family farmers are dwindling. Therefore we go to large corporate herds. There is an environmental impact but there are those who try to minimize the impact. It does bring in people to the community but I wonder how assimilated those people really are. If they have housing separate from us are they part of us. In that I mean sure they spend money here for food and gas and such but it is like they are an invisible group. It should be more than numbers of people. They should be welcome and part of our community.

Dairy farmers and those who work at dairies have my respect. They work very hard in difficult conditions. To me there is no closure on this issue. The large corporate dairies are there and they do a job that is needed and there are those who watch them to minimize the environmental impact and keep things on the up and up. Sounds like a good plan to me.

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