I recently learned that two industrialized chicken facilities have been proposed on land adjacent to our family farm. Twenty minutes into my research, I lost my appetite for chicken nuggets.
Already, I had learned that property located near industrialized chicken facilities loses 40 percent to 60 percent of its value. In Arkansas alone, chicken farms produce as much waste each day as 8 million people. And lawsuits have been filed against poultry facilities in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Maryland because of manure runoff.
I have been assured that these poultry producers will have to meet DHEC standards, but that offers me no comfort. I assume DHEC is as underfunded as any other state agency. Extensive disparities remain in S.C. schools, even though our state has been under a court order to equalize its schools for years. DSS does not have the resources to protect vulnerable children, and S.C. prisons do not have the resources to handle adult and juvenile prisoners. How in the world do rural residents have any assurance their needs will be addressed?
Our local, state and federal representatives need to stop letting brand-name poultry integrators hide behind South Carolina’s right-to-farm law.