Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Landscape in transition

Wouldn't it be novel if Idaho's dairy industry leaders were to say, "The people who oppose industrial dairy practices are right; mega-dairies have failed to contain their own negative impacts, treat people and animals with respect, or offer a safe product. Our industry needs to clean up its act."

Yet, as CAFOs have been permitted to ignore these three basic business principles for decades, the industry actually feels entitled to continue. Idahoans should expect this attitude to create many additional, deep, and lasting rifts in farm country.

When Sempra was sent packing last year, I knew that a sleeping giant had awakened in southern Idaho; "industrial" dairy will be the next bad thing to go. Thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of many, this statement is slowly coming true.

Meanwhile, as the same scene is played out all across our country, be certain that southern Idaho is witnessing nothing less than the first last breaths of "industrial" dairy, and perhaps CAFOs, in general. The eventual result will be a safer, cleaner, and stronger rural America, while consumers of agricultural products everywhere will benefit significantly.

Granted, entrenched bad practices that generate profit don't go down without a bitter fight. Thus, expect much worse from the dairy industry before this war is over. Keep up the fight, but brace yourselves for the long manure storm to come.

Jeremy Fryberger


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