Family Farmers

JULY 3, 2018

For many Duplin County citizens, the past few weeks have been difficult. It seems that our community has become starkly divided on a singular issue: hog farming.

As a candidate for NC House, I want to make my position on the issue very clear: I am proud to support agriculture and our local hog farmers. However, I refuse to accept the false narrative that protecting family farmers means that large, corporate interests should be exempt from being good neighbors.

The reality is that our local farmers are under attack. Rising agricultural costs, regulatory changes and new foreign pork tariffs collectively have made it increasingly difficult for our local farmers.

The reality is that our neighbors are suffering, too. Decreased property values, health effects and attacks on property rights don’t make it easier for those on the other end of this issue.

What is the solution?

First, we must begin open and honest dialog with folks from both sides of the issue. I’ve met with both hog farmers and their neighbors; I empathize with all of them.

Secondly, we must aggressively fight for solutions that address all sides of the issue starting with the source. Whether you call it the “smell of money,” or the smell of hogs, we all can agree that there is some smell with hog production. Our state government should support local family farmers by providing grants and incentives for technologies that work to address the smells. This would not only improve the quality of life, but increase property (and tax) values.

There is no silver bullet and no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing this. Let’s work together to find common ground and take initial steps towards progress. I am eager to continue meaningful dialogue on this issue.