Letter: Farmers Union naive to be neutral
The Farmers Union is naive to think that they are going to prevent further degradation of the Anti-Corporate Farming law.
In 2002, South Dakota had 1,500 farms raising hogs. By 2017 only 571 farms were left, but the number of operations that had over 5,000 hogs went from 66 to 105, increasing their hog population to 1.5 million. Iowa counties with the highest hog sales showed the highest declines in human population, loss in real median household income and total wage jobs. Des Moines, Iowa’s most populous city recently had to spend millions of dollars to clean up its drinking water in the Raccoon River after it was contaminated by manure spreading and runoff from corporate agriculture operations.
The Farmers Union is naive to think that they are going to prevent further degradation of the Anti-Corporate Farming law, especially when their opponents have repeatedly stated that they intend to completely dismantle this law. It's completely absurd to call themselves neutral when they are negotiating amendments and hoping the legislation crosses the finish line. I think that FU’s Board of Governors need to have a long conversation about the future of Mark Watne and Matt Perdue after this legislative session is over. Passed and signed into law, SB2373 allows these operations to land in any county without informing residents. Once you invite corporate farming of any scale into the state, it is almost impossible to reverse course. Where are our champions in the state, with Farmers Union standing by while we lose control of our land and waters?