My business, my gardens, and my home are all threatened by two Cobb (Tyson) chicken houses being built within 500 feet of my home and farm. The Cobb officials I’ve met are very understanding and nice. Their documents specifically state no houses will be built within 1500 feet of a business, school or public area, and as these are the rules they claim to operate under, I trust they will respect that. The present plan to build within 500 feet of my place may force me to close my business down and move away. This weighs heavily on me. I love Macon County and want to continue to bring money and people here, and to keep improving my farm and business. I can’t do this 500 feet down hill, downstream and downwind from 40,000 chickens.
We are speaking to many people from many disciplines to begin to confront this threat. Attorneys, PR people, lobbyists, politicians, and everyday people are being organized to try and stop this project. A more obvious example of David vs Goliath is hard to find. We hope, with our visibility, notoriety, and the repository of farming knowledge I have accumulated over the years, to mount a PR campaign that is more unsavory than the thought and cost of moving these chicken houses. The fact that they chose to ignore someone with a well-established farm and business, educational value to gardeners around TN and America, and my celebrity, may be their biggest mistake.
One important aspect to this situation is our ability to get the word out, far and wide. We must be honest and act with integrity at every turn. To me that means clearly indicating when something can be substantiated as fact, or is just what we believe to be true. As much as we wish we didn’t have to, this is a must in this media-saturated, web-connected world of ours.