Campaign Features Rural Opposition to State Legislation that Would Pave the Way for More & Larger Factory Farms in Minnesota
The Land Stewardship Project (LSP) today launched a media campaign focused on rural opposition to proposed state legislation that would dramatically weaken environmental review of Minnesota’s largest proposed factory farms.
The campaign features an advertisement that is being broadcast on 71 rural radio stations. The ad will continue running during the Minnesota Legislature’s Easter break, when lawmakers are visiting their districts. The ad features farmer and LSP member Dale Post of Goodhue County’s Zumbrota Township in southeastern Minnesota speaking about how environmental review was critical to him and his neighbors when confronted with a proposed factory hog farm.
In the ad, Post says, “Outside interests are trying to push a factory hog farm into my township. They don’t want to listen to me or my neighbors or give us details. But because of environmental review they had to.” (A full transcript of the radio ad is below; audio is here.)
In addition to the radio ad, letters are being sent to over 20,000 Minnesotans and a social media campaign will focus on urging rural residents to contact their legislators and Governor Mark Dayton, telling them the legislation should not become law.
The proposed legislation would double the size the largest feedlots can be— from 1,000 animal units to 2,000 animal units—before environmental review is required. Feedlots over 1,000 animal units are the largest 7 percent of feedlots in Minnesota (1,000 animal units is equivalent to 3,333 hogs or 714 dairy cows or 1,000 steers.) Under the current law, only nine large feedlots were required to do environmental review before being permitted in 2016.
Environmental review on the largest feedlots creates a public process that ensures what is being proposed must be fully made public and the potential harm is being analyzed before permits are drafted and issued. Introduced as Senate File 1016 by Senator Bill Weber of Luverne, and House File 1456 by Representative Chris Swedzinski of Ghent, the bill language has now been included in the Senate Omnibus Environment Finance Bill (Senate File 723).
“Rural Minnesotans don’t want factory farms pushed into their communities, especially when they don’t have to do environmental review,” said Kathy DeBuhr of Chokio, Minn. “Environmental review matters because it gives rural neighbors a say, and that is what big ag interests don’t want.”
DeBuhr, along with her neighbors in Baker Township in Stevens County, fought a proposed 8,850-cow factory dairy farm and in 2014 succeeded in getting the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Citizens’ Board to require an in-depth environmental review. As a result, corporate agriculture interests pushed successfully to eliminate the 48-year-old Citizens’ Board during the 2015 legislative session.
“Corporate ag is looking to take away all the opportunities rural people have for making our concerns heard,” DeBuhr said. “LSP’s campaign is about making rural voices heard.”
Text of Radio Ad:
Keep Rural Minnesota Strong
In rural Minnesota, we want a say in what goes on in our community. That is why the very largest factory farms must do environmental review before they are built.
Farmer Dale Post knows how important this is: “Outside interests are trying to push a factory hog farm into my township. They don’t want to listen to me or my neighbors or give us details. But because of environmental review they had to.”
Environmental review is about making sure neighbors know what is being proposed and have a say. It’s about getting it right and keeping rural Minnesota strong.
But at the State Capitol corporate interests are pushing a law that would double the size factory farms can be before there is environmental review. This would mean more and larger factory farms in our rural communities.
Speak up now and let your legislators and the Governor know you oppose this.
To learn more, contact the Land Stewardship Project at 612-400-6349 or www.landstewardshipproject.org.