If you are on Facebook, or if you received an email containing a message from Jeff, you may have seen the picture of Jeff’s house and the smaller tract of land that makes up Long Hungry Creek Farm, next to and dwarfed by the Cobb chicken houses just a few hundred feet up the hill from his back door. The chicken houses now have 37,500 birds between them. We know they spray insecticides and herbicides around the buildings, it is explicitly stated in the contract Jeff’s neighbor signed to become a farmer for the Tyson subsidiary.
Jeff has decided to abandon this side of the farm, both for his sake, and for our customers who expect clean food from the farm. The announcement that accompanied the photo has led many people to believe that Jeff is shutting down the farm completely and quitting farming altogether. It is this impression I am trying to counteract. The larger tract of the farm, where most of our food is already grown, has not been threatened by a poultry CAFO as yet, and is slated to become Jeff’s new home.
Anyone with any sense of fairness recognizes that to build so close to Jeff when you own over 70 acres to place such an operation, is just not right, and almost comes across as vindictive. Cobb has successfully changed the nuisance laws in Macon County to remove any simple recourse to prevent the encroachment and subsequent threat an operation like theirs poses to a chemical-free, biodynamic, decades-old established farm and business like Jeff’s. While the company continues to insist there is no threat of runoff or contamination from their chicken houses, that doesn’t make sense given the proximity and volume of chickens just up the hill from Long Hungry Creek Farm.
We fought this and managed to hold off the operation for over a year, before the company found a loophole that exempted them from the permit that was previously preventing the chickens from being allowed on site. They often repeat in correspondence that they have been cooperative, and in fact did reorient the houses so that the vents blew away from the farm. I hold that reorienting the houses shows that something foul (no pun intended) comes out of these houses, even if just the smell, but potentially airborne chicken feces that contain antibiotic residues, ammonia, and if the practice is still in use, arsenic, which used to be standard in industrial chicken feed.
So we will have a CSA next year, let’s put that rumor to rest now. Long Hungry Creek will survive, but has taken a big hit. If you’ve ever been to Jeff’s house, you know what I mean.
- Alan Powell, CSA Manager, Long Hungry Creek Farm