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Re: E-M:/ Tragic loss of family farm to a mega-dairy



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Enviro-Mich message from "Grant Trigger" <GTrigger@honigman.com>
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One point of clarification - I did not mean to put any "blame" on anyone - many people do not consider the consequences of estate planning in the context of preserving farms - I am particularly sensitive to it because I have had to help my Dad (before he died) and my brother figure out a way to keep the farm together (in an area of the state not facing huge development pressures - I can only imagine how hard it would be in Macomb county).  My point was meant to focus on how hard it is to be a successful farmer these days - and I see some of the way this issue is being managed making it worse.  A dairy of beef farm may simply be impossible to operate without large herds - why make it harder?  Most farmers were the first conservationists - work with em and not against em. And I suggest that government subsidies are much more complex than simply creating an adverse impact by consolidating certain wealth.  I suggest a month on a farm during planting season might open a lot of eyes and minds (maybe even a weekend).

>>> "David Zaber" <dzaber@chorus.net> 05/02/02 04:16PM >>>
Folks,

This was sent to me by Mr. Vermeulen.  My response in caps below.

Dave Zaber
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Kenneth Vermeulen 
  To: dzaber@chorus.net 
  Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2002 9:40 AM
  Subject: Re: E-M:/ Tragic loss of family farm to a mega-dairy


  Once again, David, your environmental fanaticism has blinded you to the point of Grant's message.  I completely agree with you that the whole issue of farm subsidies needs to be re-examined.  But are you against ALL farm subsidies?  including the Conservation Reserve Program?  recognized by just about everyone, including every environmental group that I know of, as one of the most successful habitat restoration programs EVER? 

  WELL, GIVEN THAT I DID NOT TRY TO PIN A LABEL ON MR. TRIGGER, BUT RATHER FOCUSED ON THE ISSUES RAISED, I'LL IGNORE YOUR AD HOMINUM CHARACTERIZATION OF ME AS A FANATIC.  IT MAKES ME WONDER IF YOU HAVE ANY FACTS ON YOUR SIDE OR DO YOU NEED TO RELY UPON MISCHARACTERIZATIONS OF INDIVIDUALS TO MAKE YOUR POINTS? 

  AS FOR ALL SUBSIDIES, I'M AGAINST THOSE THAT CONCENTRATE WEALTH AND RESULT IN ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE.  THAT SHOULDN'T BE TO HARD TO UNDERSTAND.  I'M SURE IT WILL BE DISTORTED BY THOSE SEEKING TO CONTINUE TO PULL THE (SUBSIDIZED) WOOL OVER THE EYES OF THE MAJORITY OF TAX PAYERS WHO DO NOT RECIEVE SUBSIDIES TO POLLUTE THEIR NEIGHBORS AND POISON THEIR (OUR) ENVIRONMENT.  

  The fact is, better estate planning, as well as the elimination of the death tax, would be a HUGE benefit to small farmers.  Why not agree with Grant on that issue and move forward, rather than using his message as an opportunity to attack him?  

  OH, SO NOW THE REPUBLICAN "DEATH TAX" CANARD IS THE REASON THEY LOST THEIR FARM.  HMMMMM.  AS FOR BETTER ESTATE PLANNING.  YOU BET.  BUT SINCE MR. TRIGGER'S ARGUMENT WAS BASED ON THE FAILURE OF THE FAMILY ITSELF  AS THE REASON FOR THEIR LOSS OF THEIR LAND, IT'S WHAT I RESPONDED TO.  

  I understand that you think of attorneys like Grant and myself as the incarnation of evil, but you and your organization would be better served to accept the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Grant and I both share your basic concern for the environment, we just have different ideas as to how best to achieve truely environmentally beneficial results, that can be economically viable, and consistent with the rights and freedoms of the citizens of this great country.  We will do more to help the environment by working together, rather than constantly bashing each other.

  HOW DO YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT YOU OR MR. TRIGGER?  WE'VE NEVER MET.  ALL I KNOW ABOUT YOU IS FROM YOUR POSTS ON ENVIROMICH.  WHERE DO THESE IDEAS COME FROM?  

  There is an economic reality in farming (like all other business), that has NOTHING to do with subsidies.  The more efficient the operation, the higher the profit.  Without subsidies ALL farmers, large and small alike, were suffering.  I suggest we work on finding a way to improve farm efficiency WITHOUT DESTROYING THE ENVIRONMENT.  The two goals are NOT mutually exclusive.

  DO WE WORK ON IMPROVING FARM EFFICIENCY WHILE NOT DESTROYING THE ENVIRONMENT BEFORE DURING OR AFTER THE NEXT POISONOUS FACTORY FARM BEGINS OPERATIONS IN MICHIGAN?

  Ken

  >>> "David Zaber" <dzaber@chorus.net> 05/01/02 10:22PM >>>
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  Enviro-Mich message from "David Zaber" <dzaber@chorus.net>
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  Mr. Trigger wrote:

  "We still need to figure out how to reconcile the pressures to grow farm
  operations (including dairy) in order to make any money with the conflicts
  land use issues raise."


  Dave Zaber replies:

  The pressures to grow farm operations comes from a variety of sources, not
  the least of which is massive government subsidies that unbalance the
  playing field.  These terribly destructive taxpayer subsidies are set to
  grow under the new farm bill.

  These subsidies take many forms but the outcome is sadly too often the same:
  privatization of public dollars by small groups of individuals who's actions
  have disproportionate impacts on their neighbors (of course that is when the
  actual owners of these farms lives on site). One of these impacts is the
  suppression of prices (made easy by externalization of the cost of waste
  disposal on to the environment and neighbors) which undercut smaller
  operators.

  You see, Mr. Trigger, this phenomenon - where costs are socialized while
  benefits are privatized - is at the heart of the expansion of animal factors
  such as those metastasizing across Michigan.  Whether its oil (subsidies
  through military/depletion allowances/waste externalization) or coal mining
  (waste externalization, worker health costs, global climate change) or
  paper-making (below-cost national and state forest timber sales, agency
  responsibility for costs of monitoring compliance, deterioration of roads
  from log transport) or any number of other such endeavors much of their
  success is due to a transfer of money from taxpayer to private entity via
  government.

  So, rather than blame the loss of this farm and its take-over by another
  mega polluter on the family who ran it, lets try evening the playing field.
  After all, its only fair.

  Regards


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: "Grant Trigger" <GTrigger@honigman.com>
  To: <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>; <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
  Sent: Wednesday, May 01, 2002 3:10 PM
  Subject: Re: E-M:/ Tragic loss of family farm to a mega-dairy


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  Enviro-Mich message from "Grant Trigger" <GTrigger@honigman.com>
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  Aside from the dairy farm issue this is a classic example of the need for
  estate planning - no heir has any right that a person does not want to give
  them.  So if anyone wants the "farm" to stay intact they provide for it and
  you can avoid forced sales etc.   Without knowing any detail here - farms
  can be preserved - Nature Conservancies can help with development rights
  issues and pressures and good estate planning can help secure the farm.

  We still need to figure out how to reconcile the pressures to grow farm
  operations (including dairy) in order to make any money with the conflicts
  land use issues raise.  All anyone has to do is drive through the country
  and count the number of closed dairy and beef farm lots - it is almost
  impossible to make any money unless you grow very large.  We need to be
  careful or we will drive farming out of the realistic future of many -
  including my brother and many of his friends.

  >>> "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org> 05/01/02 01:56PM >>>
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  Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
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  Folks:

  I have been sent a letter to the Editor of the Morenci Observer that I want
  to share with you -- I have to say few things have made me a sad for the
  tragedy we have allowed to be inflicted on our rural communities.  Note that
  this farm is in the area of 9 other mega-dairies, so the writer clearly
  knows the effects of these facilities:

  "Regrets expressed about large dairy

  The Taylor Family cannot begin to express the deep sadness that has taken
  over our lives at this time and will continue for the rest of our lives.
  The farm has been the heart of our family since 1941 when it was purchased
  by my grandparents, Roy and Minnie Taylor.  The greatest gift from them was
  their love of the farm and the importance of family. That gift could be felt
  four generations later, long after they passed away.

  Every room of the house, every rose bush, every tree and every inch of the
  farmland could spark the wonderful memories that we had all enjoyed.
  Grandpa's wish was for it to be home to everyone even when they had their
  own homes.  His wish was to have that beautiful property last forever, to be
  a remembrance of his hard work and the joy that it brought to him and his
  family.  Unfortunately, the farm was ordered to be sold due to the death of
  one of the heirs.

  The months leading up to this dreaded event have been like a slow death. Our
  family farm, our connection with the past, the sights and sounds that spark
  those little reminders of all the loved ones that have passed before us
  would soon be gone.  What kept us going through the wait was a small hope of
  buying some of it back, for grandchildren to enjoy and grow to love the way
  we had.  But that did not happen.

  The farm, the heart of our family, will hold a mega dairy.  If we had been
  asked before the auction what is the worst possible thing that could happen,
  the answer would have been that we will lose it all. Now I know the true
  answer and it has happened.

  So now we offer our deepest regret to our neighbors and friends that will
  have to live with the possible effects of the dairy. We are truly sorry that
  this has happened and would never in a million years have done this if it
  had been up to us.  We loved the farm and the neighborhood just the way it
  was.

  So, as you drive by in the future and resent the giant buildings, the smell
  and the flies, please try to remember it as it was: a beautiful farm that
  was home to five generations who will miss it terribly.

  We were not the ones that invited the mega dairy into our community.  We
  respect your right to live the lifestyle you have chosen for yourself and
  your families.  We are just sorry that other people do not feel that way.

  Sincerely,

  Debbie Miller and family

  Representing other family members:
  Andy Taylor, Richard Taylor, Robert Taylor and family, Gary Taylor and
  family, Frank Beckett, Pat Beckett and family, Joanne Beckett-McGuire and
  family, Roger Leininger and family, Harold Leininger and family, Jerry
  Leininger and family, Roberta Spadafore and family and Robin Scott and
  family





  AW
  <<-->><<-->><<-->><<-->><<-->><<-->><<-->>
  Anne Woiwode, Staff Director, Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
  109 East Grand River Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48906
  517-484-2372; fax 517-484-3108  anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org 
  visit the Mackinac Chapter on the web at http:\\michigan.sierraclub.org



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Confidential:  This electronic message and all contents
contain information from the law firm of Honigman Miller
Schwartz and Cohn LLP which may be privileged,
confidential or otherwise protected from disclosure.
The information is intended to be for the addressee
only. If you are not the addressee, any disclosure, copy,
distribution or use of the contents of this message is
prohibited. If you have received this electronic message
in error, please notify us immediately (1.313.465.7000)
and destroy the original message and all copies.
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