Activists speak against Ark. pork operation

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According to an article in the Arkansas Dem-Gazette, two activists spoke to an audience in Little Rock, Ark., last week claiming large livestock farms have damaged rivers, fish and ecology-based tourism in North Carolina.

The meeting was hosted by the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, a group opposed to a pork operation that opened in March near the Buffalo National River. C&H Hog Farms in Newton County, Ark., is the first pork operation in Arkansas to receive a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for water discharge from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. The Buffalo River Watershed Alliance wants the permit to be revoked.

The news article, by Emily Walkenhorst, said Little Rock was the last location of the “whistle-stop tour” of northern and central Arkansas by the alliance.

The two speakers, Rick Dove and Larry Baldwin, were from the international group, Waterkeeper Alliance. According to the article, they said “untreated animal waste used as fertilizer has found its way via runoff and air dispersal into streams and rivers in eastern North Carolina, where most of the states’ hog farms are located.” 

Baldwin and Dove said the rocky terrain of the land near the river - called karst - allows water to easily run through cracks in the ground. Hog-farm opponents say livestock nutrient waste will filter into the karst and be channeled to the waterways. They want C&H Farms to build a wastewater treatment plant “to eliminate some of the environmental concerns.”

Comments were not rebutted by either the farm owner or representatives from Cargill, which will market the pigs produced at C&H Farms.

The Buffalo River group is also a party to two lawsuits against the federal Farm Services Agency and the Small Business Administration, claiming they were negligent in providing loan guarantees in the construction of C&H Hog Farms.

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