Factory farms pose an ‘existential threat’ for rural Wisconsin communities

The rural landscape in the US is changing drastically: The days of the independent family farm have increasingly given way to industrial agriculture and factory animal farms. In states around the country, from Iowa and Minnesota to North Carolina, the expansion of Big Agriculture and the factory farming industry has dramatically altered local economies and communities, using up communal resources while posing serious threats to public health and the environment. Far from halting this trend, governments at the state and federal level have worked with powerful industry groups for years to incentivize large-scale farming operations and to make it increasingly difficult for local governments to adequately regulate these operations. But resistance from within rural communities, stretching across political lines, is mounting.

At this very moment, farmers, residents, and environmental advocates in three rural counties in Wisconsin—Polk, Burnett, and Crawford—are engaged in a battle to protect their communities against the construction of two proposed concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which would collectively house roughly 34,000 hogs. Residents fear that the millions upon millions of gallons of liquid manure produced by these CAFOs every year, along with their many other impacts, could cause irreversible damage to their land, air, water, property values, and ways of life. As part of a special collaboration with In These Times magazine for “The Wisconsin Idea,” TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez traveled with Cameron Granadino (TRNN) and Hannah Faris (In These Times) to Crawford, Polk, and Burnett counties to speak with residents about their concerns and their struggles to defend themselves against Big Agriculture and the factory farming industry.

Maximillian Alvarez
Simon Davis-Cohen
Hannah Faris
Cameron Granadino

Cameron Granadino
Stephen Frank

Cameron Granadino
Stephen Frank
Kayla Rivara

The Wisconsin Idea is an independent reporting project of People’s Action Institute, Citizen Action of Wisconsin and In These Times.

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Author: phillyfinest369


20 thoughts on “Factory farms pose an ‘existential threat’ for rural Wisconsin communities

  1. All of this is because of Americans, continuous appetite for an expensive bacon, ham, sausages, etc.
    This has to end. To support your local farmer even if it’s more expensive. Don’t support and corporations that don’t care about your health. Thank you!

  2. …I watched this piece TWICE…and got really angry! I live in KEWAUNEE COUNTY and have watched this story unfold for the last 9+ years…my county has been fighting CAFO's for over 20 years. What I have learned is that we will get little help from our EPA…or…DNR…and your elected officials do not have the "STONES" for this fight…that leaves the landowners. These commercial factories will get all the animals and water they ask for…what they do not have is enough LAND…they need to rent your land for their manure spreading requirements…if you STOP RENTING YOUR LAND FOR THEIR CRAP/SHIT these businesses would move..! LAND is your weapon in this fight…do not wait..! We went all the way to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin fighting one…and WON..! The Court ruled in our favor and required Monitoring Wells to be installed…these wells would report pollution issues in the water…and allowed the DNR to place heard caps. Now for the bad news…the FARMER did not like the ruling and has now filed a lawsuit against the State…fighting the decision…why would any "STEWARD OF THE LAND" not want to protect his neighbors from polluted water…who would do that..? You are correct in not believing them…your family's future depends on what you do next..! One thing to remember is this…the animals are doing nothing wrong…it is their…OWNERS..! Do not end up like…KEWAUNEE COUNTY..!

  3. 26:40 It's almost like she's talking about an economic system that cares nothing about anything except acquiring money. No interest in national welfare, public welfare, environmental welfare, so long as more money is made for the sake of making more money so that those with more money can control governments and anything else. Like it's a system designed to create and control capital. Like there might be an "ism" that encompasses everything they're talking about here as its "normal" function.
    Nah. Must not be the "real" system, because people who wrote about idealistic systems that couldn't possibly exist (impossible to exist by design) said so. And they wouldn't lie to us about that so that the actual system they were idealizing, which these farmers and advocates described, would be easier to make people believe in enough to reject all other possibilities, and even avoid thinking about them on pain of ostracization. Ludwig von Mises, Bohm Bawerk, Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell and the rest are just too honest and obviously care about the little guy too much to lie about that stuff…

    And if you don't get the sarcasm, here's me saying:
    "Yes, they would, did, do, and will continue to do. Most of the wars we've fought in the last 120 years, including both world wars, have been to support private business interests and the hegemony of the economic elite, and/or out of desperation when their interests devastate entire nations. The people who die in the wars, pay for everything via taxes, and do all of the actual work are the common folk, while the people who reap the rewards are those at the top. It's capitalism. REAL capitalism, not the fantasy, the impossible BY DESIGN fantasy, that the apologists of that system sell everyone. Democrats are not socialists or communists, nor are they even leftists (except relative to Republicans, but you could almost argue that Al Qaeda is to the left of Republicans). They are capitalists who want capitalism to thrive, but also don't want it to eat itself too quickly. Republicans want the same thing, except that they don't care how fast it easts itself, only that it be unhindered in doing so. That very much includes bringing back slave labor via prisons, and of course underpaid child labor to drive down wages for everyone else. If you don't think so, look at what they advocate for and the laws they try to pass. Religion (and religious indoctrination via 'put God back into school' and the like), 'degeneracy' issues and general culture war stuff is largely just distraction to gain support."

  4. PAID for by Gates monsondo Beyer who wants to control the world food supply. Just allow free grazing. Modesto Beyer poisened all the bees and made animals and people sick.. Animal don't cause pollution

  5. Polk. Burnet. Palaces should have a say what about milk and water what about the farmers what they want i think the land should be let be for the farmers and there farming they do great

  6. Thank you politically neither side cares about the little man This is very apparent it's all about money and power not to mention the company Smithfield is owned by China which apparently both sides of the aisle in our country are sell ing us out to

  7. I live in rural Wisconsin and you don't see any cows in the fields anymore. It's all turned into factory farms or CAFOs. I live in Kewaunee county and it's been described as a stone bowl. So, all that waste gets held inside the bowl and can pollute the ground water in the whole country. The county wanted to limit the number of CAFOs allowed in the county and, Our than Republican Governor Walker, said no and said the county had to let as many CAFOs in that wanted in. He and the Republican legislature than deregulated or weakened the laws that controlled the water protections the state had. All in the name of Wisconsin "Being Open for Business". The DNR played a role in keeping some things from happening so the republicans weakened it by cutting their budget and slashing the number of scientist they had. Starving the DNR of money and expertise. It's all good though, because the Republicans cut taxes. smh Handing the people crumbs and letting big business take everything else of value. Things haven't gotten any better though, because even though we elected a Democrat for Governor the legislature is still controlled by Republicans. Like everywhere else in the country they won't work with the Democrats.

  8. I have railed against factory farms since the mid 70s. The one thing I have learned is that greed will always win. Greed in corporations, greed in the lawyers and the legal system, greed in politicians and government. The whole system is built to fail, it just meant to make as much money as possible regardless of what they destroy( lives, towns, communities, air, water, environments, ecosystems). They quite simply do not care. They will always lie about everything. People (nation) need to stop playing their games by their rules and rise up and revolt. Take our lives and government back.

  9. I know the Roth family they are great people and have lived in this area there whole lives, do you really believe that they want to destroy it? Come on! This is a very one sided documentary

  10. Such bullshit you should probably do another vist and talk to actual cafo farm and see what they have to say most quote factory farms are still family farms sometimes they are two families together to make it work or multiple families bigger farm more cows to support the families cost of living has sky rocketed and the price the farmers get has stayed the same you need to learn the other side

  11. I love when people from out of state and non farmers tell residents how to live. Bunch of propaganda. We are discouraging people to not farm in Wisconsin. That’s why 90% of farms are vacant.

  12. Who is the world leader for robotic farming equipment, Alphabet/Google, specifically targeted at factory farms, not only destroying any chance of family farms but eliminating as many farming jobs as possible, completely economically destroying rural communities. Evil is as evil does.

  13. Hippies want to eat they better start working. Had a local little "organic" farm the hippies had a farm in Polk county and they went belly up because nobody is going to pay 4 dollars a dozen for eggs and 7 dollars a pound for pork and beef. And if you want local farming then drop the gas prices and cost of equipment which means vote Republican and no liberal bullshit and help your neighbor. Cause right now all I see is college hippies that don't work nor ever worked a farm and just wait for handouts.

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