On Corporate Hog Lots
Most of the complaints I have heard about corporate hog farms fall into three main categories. First is the smell. Second is the issue of pollution. Finally there is the concern for small, family owned farms.
I remember growing up in rural areas and I can assure you that the odor is not something that the corporate people brought in. Pigs smell that way. It is inherent to their nature.
Though I think we should encourage pork producers to attempt to reduce the emissions, and we should applaud them for their efforts, we will never fully be rid of the stink. I would suggest to anyone who cannot tolerate the aroma of agriculture that they are, perhaps, in the wrong state.
As for the pollution, we already have laws that prohibit pollution in general. If those laws need to be adjusted to be unambiguous about hog lot waste, then that is a simple matter. If it is a matter of enforcing the laws more strongly or imposing heavier penalties, that is easy as well. However, we must remember that we are doing this to prevent damage to the environment, not to harass a business of which we may or may not approve.
Family farms are a whole other issue and more care must be taken when discussing this. It is important for the state to help our farmers and insure that those farmers stay productive and competitive. Unfortunately that may mean some changes that people don't like. We can't encourage farmers to continue their old ways if those ways are no longer viable.
In the same way that ancient farmers changed from wood plows to metal plows, our modern farmers must make needed changes to keep up. This isn't to say that they need to become big corporations but they need to be open to the latest ways.
I recommend that farmers work in groups of their own creation, such as cooperatives, to compete against the corporate hog lots. With combined resources they can work more efficiently. Large corporations don't do things unless they think they can make a profit. If those companies can't make a profit because farmers are doing a good job, we no longer have to worry about corporate hog lots at all.