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



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Enviro-Mich message from Barbara Jean Madsen <bjmadsen@umich.edu>
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Cynthia,

An excellent point--that the real underlying problem is the structure and
attitudes of society as a whole.  Unfortunately, it will take decades (if
not longer!) to have any significant impact on those large-scale
attitudes, whereas there may be some hope of influencing or changing one
state agency (especially with a potentially sympathetic governor in
office).  So it probably makes sense to put some real energy into trying
to change MDA, in the hope of thereby bringing about some meaningful
change in Michigan, that then may serve as a model for other states.  (The
old "think globally, act locally" principle!)

	--Barb Madsen


On Tue, 24 Jun 2003, Cynthia  Price wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from "Cynthia  Price" <skyprice@iserv.net>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> It appears to an outsider (who has dealt with MDA both as a sound-land-use
> advocate and through "buy local" food work with Michigan Integrated Food &
> Farming Systems and the Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council) that
> MDA's mission is not to regulate the farming industry, but rather more to
> regulate everyone else to protect farming. I don't have much quarrel with
> that goal, actually, except that farming has somehow moved from a
> family-business model to a corporate-industrial model, as previously noted.
> It's both intuitive and demonstrable that entities like Vreba Hof
> (spelling?) coming in from the outside have no genuine investment in the
> community. So why expect them to care about the health and cleanliness of
> water they're not drinking or ecosystems they're not living in? In that
> sense it almost seems to me like a "free trade" issue, rather than a farming
> issue. And although of course some of the CAFOs are run by locals, that
> whole activity seems to me to require some new thinking about regulation.
>
> There are plenty of good employees at MDA, and I can vouch for at least a
> few who believe strongly in organic growing and helping smaller farmers. But
> until we as a society examine the "bigger is better" philosophy on every
> front, we're going to be stuck cleaning up messes, in fact, BIG messes. So I
> guess I agree with Mark that we need to rethink MDA, but I also believe we
> need to rethink the whole food system and get at the real reasons that
> current farming practices damage our environment.
>
> Cynthia Price
> ----------
> >From: "Mark Richardson" <Mark.Richardson@co.macomb.mi.us>
> >To: <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>, <Cubbagec@aol.com>,
> <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>, <info@michiganimc.org>,
> <snakeman1549@yahoo.com>, <earthfirstalert@yahoogroups.com>,
> <stopperrier@yahoogroups.com>
> >Subject: Re: E-M:/ Alert: Protect Michigan from Factory Farms
> >Date: Tue, Jun 24, 2003, 9:34 AM
> >
>
> >-------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >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 >>>
> >Friends,
> >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
> >address......"
> >
> >Regards,
> >Chuck
> >
> >
> >
> >ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
> >and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
> >http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/
> >
> >Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
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> >
>
>
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