To the Editor:
In North Carolina, a jury awarded neighbors $473.5 million in damages due to the nuisance of hog waste from the confinements owned by farmers working with Smithfield Foods. This was the third lawsuit in 2018 against Smithfield Foods in which juries found in favor of the neighbors.
To clarify. Three separate sets of neighbors brought nuisance lawsuits against Smithfield Foods for the stench in the air and the pollution of the water the neighbors endured due to the Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) supported by Smithfield. In all three cases, 12 jurors examined the evidence at trial and decided in favor of the neighbors awarding them millions of dollars in restitution.
Here in Yankton, we have several farmers eager to build their CAFOs and neighbors just as eager to ensure those CAFOs will not destroy the quality of life they have enjoyed for years. Today, our Yankton County Commissioners have rubber stamped the permits of eight cheaply constructed open air curtain barns, with minimal regulations. There have been three lawsuits against the Yankton County Commissioners already due to ordinance irregularities. The tide is turning in attitudes about the importance of maintaining a good quality of life in communities threatened by poorly regulated CAFOs. To avoid years of misery followed by litigation, we need unbiased commissioners who will consider both sides of this issue to protect our farmers as well as citizens and neighbors. Yankton and South Dakota deserve better. Stay
involved in your local government. The decisions they make will definitely affect you.