Sustainable farming expert will speak about economy to Delta County residents

Advocates for sustainable and family farming have invited a renowned expert on the subject to the area for a couple of speaking engagements this week.

Thursday evening in Hotchkiss, John Ikerd, a professor emeritus of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri, will present “Good Food, Responsible Agriculture & Preserving Our Rural Economy in Delta County.”

His presentation is scheduled from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Memorial Hall in Hotchkiss, 175 N. First St.

Ikerd will also meet with the local chapter of the League of Women Voters earlier in the day.

The acclaimed author and economist will discuss “the economic and environmental benefits of family-scaled farming and ranching,” according to a flier for the event, and will “address the long-term negative impacts of industrial animal agriculture.”

Ikerd’s presentation comes amid a continuing conflict in Delta County concerning a now-shuttered confined chicken egg-laying operation on Powell Mesa.

That confined operation was the source of a major debate in the county, as neighbors of the farm complained about negative effects of the farm and Delta County commissioners’ multiple approvals for the project.

The fight wound up in district court, with the farm and Delta County losing the local battle and currently challenging the outcome in an appellate court.

In a recent paper, Ikerd takes Confined Animal Feeding Operations — or CAFOs — head on:

“The case against CAFOs as a threat to public health is clear and compelling and is not limited to contaminated food products. There are too many scientific studies from highly respected public health institutions documenting various kinds of health risks to cite separately without seeming to understate the authenticity, breadth, depth, and sheer magnitude of the evidence,” he writes.

Also scheduled to present during the Thursday evening event are Frank Stonaker, a farmer and former Colorado State University professor of horticulture; Scott Horner from Small Potatoes Farm; and author Paulo Bacigalupi.

Ikerd is the author of such books as “Sustainable Capitalism,” “A Return to Common Sense,” “Small Farms are Real Farms,” and “Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture.”


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What outside forces are driving sustainable farming? Did the locals complaining purchase their properties with full knowledge of the chicken farms existence? Perhaps we should do small farm production and keep farm products locally and starve the big cities. Food for thought.

PS: Isn’t this an attack on private property rights so the government can tell you what you can and cannot do on your property?

The neighbors lived there before the egg factory was built.  One person’s activity on their property cannot be a detriment to neighbors’ property and health.  That’s the issue here.  Its about land use.

Thank you for the info. Was the property designated ATF?

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