Dear Editor:

I remember a time when you could drink from a local running spring without concern. Our family would always stop for a drink of spring water from a pipe that came from the hill side, complete with a tin cup to sample some of the best water you have ever had.

A time when farm manure smells were part of growing up along the trout streams and woodlands of northwestern Michigan and were not considered noxious and the stuff of potential environmental degradation of our water tables and cold water streams.

Things aren’t how I remember them from the 1950s and 1960s of course, but we are all in a position to keep them from getting unbearably worse for future families. Small sustainable family farm operations are dwindling and huge corporate factory farms are becoming the norm.

Gone are the springs that one could drink from. Gone is the sweet manure tang of small farm operations, replaced by the smell of an agriculture I just don’t know.

I recognize the need for factory farm operations in today’s world, but question the wisdom of putting industrial corporate level ag facilities in places where the risks and potential environmental consequences are so high. Instead, let’s look for balance between small facilities and our more traditional family farmers with an emphasis on environmental quality and quality of life. Many of our smaller operators do their best to do the right thing.

It’s an affront to common sense whether you are Republican, Democrat, Independent, small town resident, rural resident, or area farmer. People that will be dramatically affected by enormous farms. We are talking about families living on century farms; young farmers that want to farm in a sustainable way; as well as older farm folk that have grown up in the area and appreciate its true unique value. We should all be concerned about the possibility of enormous corporate factory farms showing up in our midst.

If permitted, the lives of these good people will change forever. Corporate ag will see us as an easy target. Your rural neighborhood may be next. Hopefully, counties will keep a reasonable balance between sustainable farming and the environment. There are many citizens like me who are concerned about quality of life.

Let’s support our remaining small family farm operations and say “NO” to the proliferation of corporate industrial level farming. Let’s say “YES” to leaving a quality environment for our children, grandchildren and subsequently to their kids, a place they can take pride in.

-Roger and Dorie Bollman,
Wilmont, MI