Archive for Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Letters to the editor

November 14, 2001

To the editor:

"Corporate terrorism" is alive and well and living, just 4.5 miles south of Baldwin City. I refer to the proposed CAFO (confined-animal-feeding-operation) by John Coen, which if successful (in its application-for-permit to the KDHE), will most assuredly adversely affect the quality of life of our community.

Firstly, Mr. Coen, himself does not own even one acre of the land for the proposed site, nor any land, anywhere near the proposed site. Secondly, his financial backings are from the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing, in February 2001, in the form of a $30,000 grant; from the 21st Century Alliance out of Manhattan, a corporate conglomerate; and lastly, from the Farm Bureau, which allegedly, over the past 80 years, is pledged to assist the "small" farmer, but in reality, has been squeezing out the small farmer in favor of commercial, industrial-sized operations. In fact, the farm Bureau has sold its insurance area of their organization and with that revenue, "has established a legal foundation to provide a mechanism to gather funds for court battles important to the interests of farmers and ranchers." Would that that were true for the little guy!

The Farm Bureau of old, was a rural institution " in effect the voice of the farmer as much a fixture in a small-town America as the local church or post office but today, with thousands of farmers facing financial ruin the Bureau has done little to help them. While they're sinking in debt, we found that people at the top of Farm Bureau have been building a financial empire worth billions, some of it invested in the very agribusiness giants that are running the small family farms out of business ," (Mike Wallace; 60 Minutes; April 9, 2000). And it is this same "giant" which is looking to get a foothold in our community south of Baldwin City. Let me be direct this CAFO (confined-animal-feeding-operation) of Mr. Coen's is NOT welcome!

This CAFO, which in reality is not a "dairy" farm in the old-fashioned sense of the word rather is an "industry" requiring some 1428 animals, 40 employees, and excessive traffic from large trucks hauling both milk/milk products and raw waste (cow dung and urine) materials. This CAFO is a large-scale operation, driven by volume-production and profit-margin. Say "good-bye" to a family farming way-of-life!

This proposed industry would contaminate the underground and surface waters from the 2000 TONS of solid waste and approximately 8.5 MILLION gallons of fecal lagoon contents (the by-products of some 1428 animals). Disposal of these contents is extremely problematic. The contents will be stored in a giant, open-air (4) four-acre (earthen-containment) lagoon (the size of 7 football fields), in an area where the water table is between (4) four and (14) fourteen feet. The "seepage" from these earthen containment structures is well-documented and at the rate of (seepage) of 1/4" per day, on 4 acres, that's 27,000 gallons of raw sewage per day into the Tauy Creek and the Marais des Cygnes River. This is untenable!

The almost overwhelming logistics and inherent problems of Mr. Coen's CAFO are more that adequately documented and reside with the Secretary of KDHE, Mr. Clyde Graeber in Topeka. However, dear readers Your community, your health, and that of your children (and children's children) are at issue! This CAFO will ruin, for generations to come, the land, the water, and pollute the air on a continuing basis. These commercial CAFOs are squeezing the life-blood out of the small farm(er) and most assuredly turning neighbor against neighbor. You must do your part in preventing this CAFO from getting a foothold because if it is successful, then more will follow, and more, until there isn't a farmer lift, good water, a piece of decent land or clean air to breathe. To paraphrase a friend who is fond of Dante, the hottest fires in hell are reserved for those who maintain neutrality when there is a crisis.

Where does your newspaper stand on this issue? Where do you stand, dear reader?

Kristine S. Furlought

Baldwin City

To the editor:

All we can say is THANK YOU! An untold number of volunteers worked long and hard in getting the information out about the USD 348 bond issue that passed last Tuesday. Whether they could volunteer just a little time or a lot of time, each and every one of them deserves thanks. The patrons of USD

348 who took the time out of their day to stop and vote also deserve a thank you. For those of you who voted no, we hope that in the near future you will see that this bond will do nothing but benefit our children and the future of Baldwin City.

Thank you.

Blaine Cone and Alison Bauer

Bond Issue Campaign Co-chairs

Commenting has been disabled for this item.