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The actual articles in the July/August 2015 issue of Dakotafire, minus the County Analysis centerfold, I found well-written, timely, and did a great job framing the importance and community benefits that small- to medium-locally-run-family farms bring to their communities.

I found the centerfold without a write-up confusing and irritating, because without context it’s welcoming large corporate CAFO developments and supporting the larger corporate farming model that the entire magazine was critical of. Why take so much time writing community-building articles on small- to-medium farms and then put a center fold that obviously welcomes large industrial corporate ag?

There also should have been a critique on the parameters used in identifying these sites, because there are no environmental standards or socioeconomic considerations in the selection of these sites, just dollars and zoning setbacks.

Meghan Thoreau (comment on

I’ve always enjoyed your magazine, but the two-page spread in the July/August issue on the County Site Analysis Program, without an article explaining it, disappointed me greatly.

One major flaw in the program is that is does not take into account neighborhoods and the potential effect on area residents. Because of the County Site Analysis Program, we have a 6,500-sow facility one-half mile from our front door. It will produce an estimated 144,000 baby pigs per year and over 1 million gallons of manure. It is not a family-owned facility; it is not purchasing its feed locally, it is not helping any local farmers, and local contractors and materials were not used in the construction. The income from it will be going out of state, local family homes will decrease in value, and there’s a threat of odor issues.

The Site Analysis program is not being used by local farmers to find sites for CAFOs; they know where they can build. It’s being used by economic developers, and county and state officials to lure the “big boys” into our communities under the guise of economic development.

I feel that the County Site Analysis Program has done nothing to promote family farms or communities and would hope that a future issue covers the “other side.”

Kathy Tyler, Big Stone City, S.D.

From the editor: The main purpose of the map was to publicize (not promote) the program. If state and local governments are making a map saying “This is a good place for a CAFO,” the public should know that now, and not learn it when a facility is in the works next door. Many other articles in the issue, especially the list of questions on p. 18, provided a starting point for determining whether a CAFO is good for the community. We hope those questions result in a conversation that includes accountability toward neighbors and local communities. We intend to continue to monitor the program and publicize its reports.

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