Monday, September 29, 2008

A False Report

Farmers Take Issue With CAFO Report
Submitted by Editor on Fri, 09/26/2008 - 11:39am.
Chris Torres Staff Writer

A report on concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) permits by one of Pennsylvania’s leading environmental advocacy groups has stirred anger and frustration among farmers who feel slighted by “inaccuracies” and “false accusations” they claim are in the report.

On Sept. 18, the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal published an article on a PennFuture report, “Sick Susquehanna.” The article cited 48 CAFO farms in Lancaster County out of a total of 81 that the report claimed had missing or incomplete files at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) office as of July 21, bringing into question the department’s ability to enforce CAFO permitting in the state.

PennFuture President Jan Jarrett claims the report was compiled after one of their attorneys spent six days inspecting public records at DEP earlier this summer.

She said the attorney was attempting to verify CAFO permits were up to date as well as making sure crucial parts of the permits, including copies of phosphorus-based nutrient management plans, were on file.

Upon reading the highlights of the report in the newspaper, however, the farmers whose names were highlighted in the article claimed the report was inaccurate and unfair.

“The article in the Intelligencer Journal was completely false,” said Martin. “The fact is I have a CAFO permit that was issued by DEP and a phosphorus-based nutrient management plan that was issued by the Lancaster County Conservation District.” Read More

Information is at our fingertips in this modern age, but not all of it is good information. A report comes out about farmers not complying with the conditions of their permits and people automatically assume it must be true. Agriculture seems to end up on the wrong side of these reports more often than not. While the information isn’t accurate, the end justifies the means with these anti-ag groups. Telling our story accurately and, almost importantly, first is something we must do.

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