In this file:


·         North Carolina Pork Council responds to 'aerial detectives'

·         NC Residents in Top Pork-Producing Counties Reveal Their Perspective on Ag

·         SELC Media Release: Administrative Law Judge Donald van der Vaart sides with Smithfield-owned hog operations on water pollution



North Carolina Pork Council responds to 'aerial detectives'

Location of every permitted hog farm in North Carolina is well-known and documented.


Source: North Carolina Pork Council

via National Hog Farmer - Jan 12, 2022


The start of the new year brought with it another attack on North Carolina's pork industry. This one arrived in the form of a 16-minute video from an online outfit called Vox. It produced the video with money from an activist group staunchly opposed to animal agriculture.


Less than forty seconds into the video, the media producer hops into a small Cessna with a leader of the Waterkeeper Alliance. The airplane trip, the video explains, is necessary to really see the hog farms.


Otherwise, "you don't even know they're there," says the Waterkeeper. His goal is to make the case that North Carolina farms are hidden, or that something nefarious is taking place on farms shielded from view.


But the location of every permitted hog farm in North Carolina is well-known and documented, the North Carolina Pork Council says. You can find them on Google, or by driving through the eastern North Carolina countryside. NC Pork says it's true that not all hog farms are easily visible — most were built on family land along the back roads, and many are buffered by trees and forests (which is an industry best practice).


NC Pork points out many don't know the farms are there as there are not strong odors to give away the location, so as the activist explains, you have to take to the air to see the pinkish lagoons situated on the farms.


The video goes on to make accusations...


more, including links



NC Residents in Top Pork-Producing Counties Reveal Their Perspective on Ag


By Jennifer Shike, FarmJournal's Pork 

January 12, 2022


A survey conducted last September shows residents in Duplin County and Sampson County, N.C., are positive about local community, the impact of agriculture and the promise of renewable energy projects on farms. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, Duplin County was the No. 1 top pig-producing county and Sampson County was the No. 2 county.


According to this survey of 500 registered voters, conducted by CHS & Associates, 9 in 10 voters view the community as a good, very good or great place to live.


“There’s a misperception out there that people don’t want to live in these communities because of negative impacts from agriculture. Our survey found just the opposite. People love living here, enjoy spending time outdoors, and overwhelmingly view agriculture as having a positive impact locally,” Pat McFerron, president of CHS & Associates, said in a release.


Proposed biogas projects that will enable pig farmers to generate renewable gas (RNG) on their farms were addressed in the survey, the release said. The survey showed overwhelming support for RNG projects — by a 6-to-1 margin, voters support efforts by farmers to cover lagoons, capture gases and generate renewable energy.  


Other notable survey findings noted in the release include: 





Administrative Law Judge Donald van der Vaart sides with Smithfield-owned hog operations on water pollution


Source: Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC)

Jan 12, 2022


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Yesterday the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings upheld the state’s decision allowing Smithfield-owned hog operations to use giant pits of untreated hog feces and urine to produce gas while spraying the harmful waste on surrounding areas, which continues a long history of water pollution and harm to the families – disproportionately Black, Latino, and Native American – living nearby.


The four permits authorize hog operations to use a dangerous and polluting lagoon and sprayfield system for their hog waste; the process of producing and collecting gas from the waste lagoons can actually make the waste more polluting. Ammonia emissions from open hog waste pits in Duplin and Sampson Counties are already responsible for scores of premature deaths every year, according to a study published by the National Academy of Sciences.


“While we are disappointed in the decision, our organization remains committed to pursuing clean water, clean air, and environmental justice for residents of eastern North Carolina that have borne the burden of pollution from these hog operations for decades,” said Maggie Galka, vice chair of the board for Environmental Justice Community Action Network (EJCAN).


“These hog operations pollute our waterways and put people nearby and downstream at risk, and we are disappointed to see what amounts to a green-light for this industry’s continued pollution,” said Kemp Burdette, the Cape Fear Riverkeeper.


“Smithfield is using cleaner, more modern technology in other states to produce gas while reducing pollution, and North Carolina’s communities are entitled to the same protections,” said Blakely Hildebrand, attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Smithfield must stop its pollution and continued environmental injustices rather than consistently using the cheapest, most harmful methods to handle hog sewage in North Carolina.  The law requires it.”


Earlier this year, on behalf of the Environmental Justice Community Action Network and Cape Fear River Watch, SELC challenged the four state permits saying DEQ violated state law when the agency failed to require less harmful alternatives for producing gas from hog waste and failed to address cumulative effects of water pollution from these and other industrial hog operations and agricultural operations in the Cape Fear River Basin. In issuing this permit, DEQ violated its responsibility to prevent water pollution, and, instead, entrenches it without requiring better waste management to protect North Carolina’s waterways and communities.




The Southern Environmental Law Center is one of the nation’s most powerful defenders of the environment, rooted in the South. With a long track record, SELC takes on the toughest environmental challenges in court, in government, and in our communities to protect our region’s air, water, climate, wildlife, lands, and people. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the organization has a staff of 170, including 90 attorneys, and is headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., with offices in Asheville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Chapel Hill, Charleston, Nashville, Richmond, and Washington, D.C.


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