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Re: E-M:/ Alert: Protect Michigan from Factory Farms

Enviro-Mich message from "Mark Richardson" <Mark.Richardson@co.macomb.mi.us>

Chuck:  This exchange has got me wondering whether its time to take a general look at the MDA.  I don't know that much about agriculture, but I have a hunch that if we looked at how the MDA does business, we'd find a very outdated set of practices and procedures.  If an industry changes, doesn't it make sense that the government oversight/regulation/promotion functions need to change as well?  Your thought?  Mark

>>> <Cubbagec@aol.com> 06/23/03 08:10PM >>>
I have been suggesting to MDA for some time that they ought to address this 
sort of issue more vocally.  However, if one looks at Michigan Law, the 
enforcement of resource protection issues, statutorily is in MDEQ's hands.  Issues 
such as traffic is local.  While MDA is enabled to do what most of us would like 
them to do.  That aside, they have not indicated in a public way that they 
are eager to step up to the plate.  As always, it is difficult for an agency to 
have the ag community as its primary customer and at the same time do what is 
needed for the rest of the customers that they are to protect - all of us.  

It seems to me that there may be a lot of political liability in MDA's 
leadership stepping up to the plate and publically announcing what they are doing as 
well as indicating what they think ought to happen.  It would be refreshing 
to have someone at MDA step up to the plate and speak up for the general 
public.  What is happening is not farming as it used to be.  It is new and it stinks 
and should not be supported by the leadership of MDA, Michigan Legislature.  

On the other hand, food production is not a black and white issue.  It is 
unfortunate that the US ag CAFO industry, academic ag community and production 
and marketing components have pushed for bigger is better, obviously, without 
giving sufficient consideration to the local community and resource protection 
issues.  None-the-less, how refreshing it would be for Mich agencies to stand 
up and say to the CAFO developers, "Thanks, you're welcome IF you have ways to 


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