There is no magic formula for keeping an unwanted CAFO out of your community. Yet there are several important things you can do to create a deterrent that can discourage confinement operators from considering your neighborhood.
1. Form a Community Group. Factory farm owners are likely to build in areas of least resistance. When you have a formal community group dedicated to standing up against confinements, it can discourage producers from considering a site in your area. Don’t wait for a factory farm to be proposed before you take action. Start now!
2. Monitor for Factory Farm Activity. Contact your county auditor’s office and your local Department of Natural Resources Field Office each week to check for new development in your area. This tips producers off that you are keeping a watchful eye out for new confinements.
3. Act Quickly. If a factory farm is proposed, jump into action immediately. Speak out, stand strong, and fight. Factory farm operators sometimes back down when they see strong opposition.
4. Hold Educational Events. A knowledgeable community is an empowered community. It knows how to recognize a problem, and it knows how to take action if a problem arises. Hold regular events – talks, movies, special speakers, etc. – to educate the community on the problems associated with factory farms.
Publicize your events widely and you will accomplish two things. You will bring together a large group of people, sending a message to the corporate livestock industry that your community does not tolerate factory farms. You will also get your name out far and wide, letting the pork industry know you are a force to contend with.
5. Make Your Community Group Visible. Write letters to the editor commenting on hog confinements and the environment. Make presentations at local civic and church groups about the impacts of factory farms. Put up posters about your group around town. Take out ads in local newspapers. You are free to use and adapt IARA’s Moratorium Fact Sheet in your ads and posters. Talk with local media to get news coverage on your organization and events.
Unleash the rumor mill. Talk with your supervisors and let them know your feelings. They may not have much power to stop factory farms, but chances are they have personal connections in the industry and will let them know there is a strong group that will fight any confinements. Network at the local coffee shop and let people know your group will not tolerate factory farms in your county. Use casual, candid conversations to your advantage.
6. Raise Funds to Support Your Group. Having funds gives you staying power. It’s also another opportunity to get your name out in public.
7. Network with Other Groups. You’ll learn a lot from other organizations already fighting factory farms and create valuable connections.
8. Get Trained. IARA member organization Jefferson County Farmers & Neighbors, Inc. has a comprehensive training program to help community groups get on their feet and develop a strong organization. If you are interested in learning more, contact JFAN at 641-209-6600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.