One problem with some of the anti-farming activist groups is that when they’re wrong about an accusation, they can’t back down gracefully, they instead bite down harder like a pit bull unwilling to let go of its prey.
Case-in-point is the ongoing Waterkeeper Alliance attack against Alan and Kristin Hudson, who run a family farm located near Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Hudson’s raise poultry, cattle, corn and soybeans on this fourth-generation farm. Watch a video about the Hudsons here.
The New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance filed a federal lawsuit against the Hudson’s in 2010. According to the Web site www.savefarmfamilies.org, the lawsuit accuses the Hudsons and co-defendant Perdue Farms of creating a “longstanding manure pile” that discharges pollutants via “trenches” into a field ditch in violation of the Clean Water Act. The Hudson Farm in fact has never had a “longstanding manure pile.”
The Waterkeepers made this accusation because they mistakenly thought a lawfully obtained pile of biosolids, delivered to the farm from Ocean City, was chicken manure. Maryland Department of the Environment investigated the situation, asked the Hudsons to move the pile to a different location on the farm, and concluded that “no further action is required on [the Farm’s] part other than to spread the [biosolid pile] in the spring for the next crop growing season.”
But that’s not good enough for the Waterkeeper Alliance. They now contend that the Hudsons operate a “factory farm operation” and that pollutants from poultry manure have entered local waterways via the exhaust fans in the poultry houses, and through ordinary foot traffic as people enter and exit the houses in the daily care of their animals. This assertion is unsupported by any credible scientific evidence and appears to be a maneuver to keep legal and financial pressure on the Hudsons.
The Hudsons face mounting legal bills as this case goes on, with an expected trial date of March 5, 2012. The Wicomico County (Md.) Young Farmers and Ranchers, the Maryland Farm Bureau, Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. , Worcester County Farm Bureau and Perdue Farms have rallied around the Hudsons, creating the savefarmfamilies.org website and hosting benefit dinners to defray legal expenses.
It’s rewarding to see the support rallying around the Hudsons, but it’s frightening to see an organization steamrolling over a family farm to get its way any way it can.
See another recent article about this in Bovine Veterinarian's sister publication, DroversCattleNetwork here.