Tuesday, December 26, 2006

See you tomorrow night

The third (and final?) meeting on the proposed conversion of the Poultry CAFO to a Veal Calf CAFO will be held tomorrow, Dec. 27, 2006, at 7:00 pm CST at the Jasper County Fairgrounds ... where the BZA will announce their decision on the Special Exception Permit requested by Mark Shuringa and Gilbert Den Dulk.

As the next meeting approaches and the year 2006 is quickly coming to an end, I'd like to look hopefully to the new year ahead as being the "year of responsibility and accountability" in regards to CAFOs -- both present and proposed for our State.

This past year, it was the Food Industry that had to step up to the plate and answer serious questions regarding food safety. However, the E. coli outbreaks (from contaminated spinach and contaminated lettuce) have been steadily drawing attention "back to the farm" -- where some experts believe public health and safety is increasingly at higher risk.

Manure is becoming a serious issue, not just as it relates to environmental pollution, but also as it relates to public health risks. For example, "More than 150 known enteric pathogens may be present in the untreated wastes, and one new enteric pathogen has been discovered every year over the past decade." (link)

The general population is just now waking up to what has been happening to farming over the past few decades. What will they think when they start learning more? (Read this report regarding emerging food-borne diseases.)

What pressures will people place on governments everywhere in regards to accountability and responsibility? The Farm Bill of Rights may give several environmental and nuisance protections to the Big Agriculture ...but I sincerely believe people won't let it stand in the way of public health and safety issues.

At this next Jasper County BZA meeting, a pivotal decision will be made affecting Walker Township.

Meanwhile, the year 2007 could be the year where "hoosiers" everywhere step up to the plate to remind public officials who they really work for in Indiana. And it just might be the year Mitch Daniels receives his wake-up call.

See you tomorrow night.

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