Our right to farm is under attack. I’m not talking about attacks from state laws. Think of this in the context of our social license to farm. We see this threat in varying degrees nationwide, but it’s something farmers need to face head on.
In the past few months, there have been 26 lawsuits filed in North Carolina, naming food companies and the local hog farmers they contract with as defendants in cases where the plaintiffs allege the farms are a legal nuisance to the community and unreasonably interfere with their property. Ironically, the plaintiffs are neighbors who moved into the communities of these already-established hog farms. In three of these suits, the juries ruled against Smithfield, putting the farmers out of business and awarding the neighbors several million dollars.