Working Title: Family Farm Fun
This Book Is In Development
This book has already been published (see below.) Due to the pictorial nature of this book, these Book Bubbles cannot be extracted from the epub file format needed to upload an existing book.
Do the protocols surrounding the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms guarantee our safety? Of course not. They only guarantee the “hold harmless” status of the corporations and the scientists that produce them. And while their failures might be unfortunate for the public, they would result in new career opportunities for the scientific community — studying the effects of the problems they’ve created.
This game is a great stress reliever for any rural get together. When your own representatives refuse to represent you, you’re cut off from government in an especially insulting way. Just mentioning this game’s name brings a smile to the faces of rural residents [and a few choice comments.] When you live close to the bone in a rural home, disrespecting those in a position of trust may be your only option to express outrage at their betrayal. Kiss MY Ass! Lickspittle Legislator!
This card game is a version of the classic Pyramid solitaire. It was fun making up the cards for the Factory Farm deck picture. The four suits are Farmers, Cash, Discharge Pipes, and DEC, and all the face cards have the features of “Mr. Factory Farm” [introduced in You Know You Live near a Factory Farm When Your Kids Go Fishing with a Pool Skimmer.] A number of the games, puzzles, etc. that were planned, were never included in this book. Using Photoshop CS5 for all the art and page layouts is time consuming and I needed to end this book project. In a future posting, I will describe some of the pages that were left unfinished when the 100 page goal was reached.
Another children’s party game with an industrial farming twist. Agricultural colleges, agribusinesses, and politicians are so tight together that there’s no room for criticism, but there’s always room for profit. Money is not the only kind of payment — sometimes it’s just career longevity, public recognition, or a coveted post.
Of course it’s simplistic, I didn’t even factor in the corruption. The important point is that politicians and the agribusiness lobby don’t expect you to add up the true costs of industrial agriculture. Just as they’ve drained the aquifers and deprived future generations of water, industrial farming has run up huge debts that they don’t intend to pay. And their political cronies have tricked us into co-signing the loan, so we’re stuck making all the payments. [You’ve probably seen that in those court shows, and wondered how stupid those people were.] If these agribusinesses are such an economic asset, why can’t they pay off their own debts, and clean up their own messes? The rural poor have to, why shouldn’t the rural rich?
I tried to write this poem from a child’s point of view — one of seeing, but not understanding — of having knowledge of what they should do, but not the context that impels it. Even their parents only have a knowledge of what is readily apparent to the senses, and none of the underlying causes and long term effects. Authorities never inform rural residents of the dangers that modern farming methods presents to their families. And they never do anything to help. Whether it’s against the law or injurious to health is unimportant, they just refuse to do it.
A not-so-simple maze for a not-so-simple question: How you decide on the risks of rBGH versus No rBGH without deciding on the quality of the information you receive to make that decision? When an early paper arguing strongly for the benefits and safety of rBGH milk was distributed by the manufacturer, and came into question for not being peer reviewed and for being riddled with inaccurate and misleading claims, one of its authors responded, “It’s only a scientific paper.” One way to decide is to answer another question: Is it OK to feed your family food if it has not yet been proven unsafe – or – it’s Not OK to feed your family food until it has been proven safe? It’s only your health.
Asbestos companies? Out of business. Rust Belt workers? Unemployed. Factory Farmers? Welcome to Hog Heaven. With flooding from “100 year storms” occurring several times a year, large scale pollution from giant hog manure lagoons is destroying the environment, polluting rural wells, and spreading. But, unlike other industries, they can’t be shut down. They need to be bought out, with taxpayer’s money. Industrial hog farms profit from polluting, and then they profit from selling — and guess who pays for the cleanup?
There just had to be a Hog Farm Sing-a-long in the book. Nothing connects the bucolic rural past to the future’s industrial farming dystopia better than the hog. When the tide finally turned in the last century, and factories became accountable for some the destruction they caused, that greed went underground, and popped up as Agriculture, complete with all the arrogance toward the community and the environment that they displayed as factory towns and coal mines. But now they had learned the power of public perception and a wholesome image There was also a new sense of power. As the agriculture industrialists know: If you don’t have a new car you cry, if you don’t have food you die. Agriculture is an industry that is exempt from meaningful regulation in this country, and it’s located in areas that are kept free of urban reporting. Follow this thread and you’ll realize that it’s like a living portrayal of the saying “give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves” — and us along with them
The third cover artwork and new Farm Harm book title were very different from my original Factory Farm Fun concept, but I thought I had hit the bullseye. The publisher suggested changing the title to Family Farm Fun, allowing them to provide the cover artwork, and writing a new preface. This is the book that’s available today. I still have a box of the old books with the original cover, and I’m still not sure . . .
At the top is the cover artwork that I planned to use with the book. The original title was Factory Farm Fun Book. The publisher did not think it would market properly, so I created the revised cover artwork you see below. [This did not go over very well, and they thought the title was no help either.] There is always a problem as an author and an artist as to whether your vision is someone else’s vision — how well do you communicate your story? I made a third version so that we would be on the same page . . .
When there is no avoiding the issue, industrial agriculture hides its guilt by camouflaging it — with a little help from their friends. This piece shows one way agribusinesses [that are responsible for more than four times the nutrient pollution as every other source combined] are being reduced to just another source in a list by people that the public trusts to inform. The Iowa Farm Bureau answers their own question: “Where do the increased nutrient levels come from?” by squeezing Agriculture in between Fertilizers from Golf Courses and Lawn Treatment. In light of this answer, it may be ironic [or informative] to learn that Agriculture produces 90% of the state’s nutrient runoff, and that in 2018, after 5 years of voluntary agricultural programs, their runoff had actually increased.
Ag-gag laws and physical obstructions are only two of the barriers that are used to protect industrial farming methods — farming promotion messages, food corporation ads, land grant colleges, politicians, bureaucrats, and media handouts, all take their turn in persuading the American people that agricultural pollution and animal mistreatment is accidental, rare, unforeseen, blown out of proportion, misunderstood, naturally occurring, and misreported for profit, thereby minimizing and deflecting any possible image of wrongdoing. How many people look past that?
It’s a sociologically interesting phenomena that as industrial farming has dramatically changed the environment that our rural population lives in, their pastimes have also changed. With the “old swimming hole” posted because of agricultural waste and runoff, rural children have not only learned to make do, but to make don’t. Fish Skimming has replaced traditional activities in rivers and ponds with what has become an Ag-ghetto classic. In today’s factory farm landscape, where you can catch more fish with a pool skimmer than a pole, it’s “better than trolling a landfill for body parts.”
This children’s game is a powerful teaching tool on the topic of agricultural pollution. Using milk crates to stand on better represents the dangers of manure spills and overflowing hog lagoons — not a gradual slide but a dramatic drop-off into the widespread destruction of an ecosystem. After the game, students can study some of the biggest agricultural catastrophes of the past decades, and what is not being done to prevent a repetition. With one player representing agricultural expansion and the other representing agricultural profits, no matter who wins the game this time, our country will be the loser.
Regulators can put a lot of faces on the same refusal to act. Industrial farms are permitted to whatever is profitable, and their failures to follow regulations and their continued polluting activities are minimized and excused. Rural residents are treated as enemies, with their every fact discounted and their victimization ignored. In the face of overwhelming evidence, regulators still refuse to regulate these farms and fall back on the same kind of voluntary guidelines that have proven worthless for decades. It’s a puppet show that makes for damn poor stewardship, but a good line dance.
To a factory farmer, hogs represent “folding money,” so what better way to represent a hog that by folding paper. While hogs lack the cognitive ability to follow the diagrams, you should have no trouble, but if nobody’s looking over your shoulder, just throw away the mistakes until you get one that’s perfect to display. The hog-face patterned paper gives it a decorative touch for your desk top. Warning: Don’t get caught with an origami hog in each hand making sounds and doing hog things.
What’s the last thing you would think of doing when you come upon a water body choked with stinking, rotting fish? Scoop up a double handful and “chow down.” The Fish Kill Crunch children’s party game sanitizes this vision by substituting cookies. Children can gobble up the cookies to clean their stretch of the river and win, but it’s never gone for good — they’ll make more. Should you show photos of fish kills before or after the game? That’s up to you. Maybe just putting a rotting fish in the Feely Bag, and leaving it to their imagination is more than enough.
Industrial farming is known, but not widely known, for its ability to externalize its costs. For example: School Tax Credits allow farmers to pay the taxes needed to placate a powerful teachers union, and in return are paid 50-100% of that back from additional taxes levied on an unknowing public. The next time you are told how important industrial farming is economically, ask yourself: How can promoting an industrial model that requires subsidies and tax breaks at every point to remain viable benefit us economically? It’s not just the money: Modern industrial farming methods are draining aquifers of increasingly valuable fresh water [that took tens of thousands of years to fill] to produce the agricultural products it sells to foreign countries for chump change. As we ship out our country’s valuable natural resources of fertile land and clean fresh water in the form of agricultural products, what do we receive for our children in return? Just the rich getting richer.
Classic bingo gets an industrial farming makeover 70 factory farm “icons” and cards for eight players. You’ve never been so happy hear someone call “Persistent cough” or “Reduced life expectancy.” Win at bingo and lose at life with Rural Destruction Bingo.
This sort-of-satirical survey explores the reality behind those beautiful, saturated images of crops, livestock, and farming families that are the staple of commercials and Ag promo spots, and asks the question: In an Ag-Gag industry that judges a disclosure of factory farm activities as “bio-terrorism” and a jailable offence — How forthcoming are agricultural sources? Assuming that an anonymous survey would elicit a candid response, what questions would you ask?
Color me camouflaged. The NYSDEC led committee on Harmful Agal Blooms claims that since they found a waterbody with agal blooms where agriculture was not the primary source of phosphorous loading, then they can’t conclude that agriculture is a primary cause. That’s like saying: since there’s a patient whose lung cancer was not caused by tobacco use, then you can’t claim that tobacco use is a primary cause of lung cancer. You already know what the recommendations to reduce agricultural nutrient pollution will be — voluntary guidelines, education, nutrient plans = business as usual. [They’ll save the regulatory crackdown for residential septic systems.]
Since all land grant agricultural colleges seem to send the same message, I’ll quote from the PennStateExtension article “Nitrates in Drinking Water”: After throwing dust about the sources and severity of the methemoglobinemia or “blue-baby syndrome” problem, the article outlines possible types of remediation: “With agricultural nitrate leaching, often you may have no control of the nitrate source.” While banned from any access to municipal water, rural families have no protection under the law for their only source of drinking water — their wells. Here are PSU’s well water treatment solutions: “ion exchange can be expensive and requires maintenance” “Reverse osmosis is expensive. Added to the equipment costs are the high energy costs for operation.” “Distillation uses much energy and produces heat which taxes air conditioners in the summer months. Energy costs are about 30 cents per gallon produced.” Since bottled water is also very expensive, PSU recommends that mixing it with the polluted well water to make it less toxic to drink will save money. However they admit that “blended water still may not be safe for infants.” PSU ends their article by stating: “Though nitrates concern many Pennsylvania residents, proper testing will confirm the problem and adequate treatment will eliminate it.” How’s that for a slap in the face of poor rural families.
Whether it’s used as a coloring page, an aphorism, or a pattern, this rural sampler puts the science back into social science. It’s not just a motto to live by, it’s the motto we are living by — in no uncertain terms.
Copy and cutout the design in the book, and fold as shown, and this traditional children’s origami can reveal your fortune — or for those in the Ag ghetto, misfortune. The only thing unluckier than seeing a factory farm, is seeing one from your bedroom window, and since you can’t make a silk purse from a hog lagoon, forget the “tall dark man” stuff and get ready for some old school company town depression. Get together with a couple of friends and have some fun hearing what the Misfortune Teller says about your future. It’s not that it isn’t real, it’s just that it isn’t real likely you live there.
Serious and satirical, this aptitude test is intended to challenge participants to think about how much what they enjoy doing has a part in what they will become. In a time where a victim’s fault paradigm of “the wrong place at the wrong time” and “a _______ gone wrong” is used to patch the holes in our society, and “closure” is a term best fitted to bureaucratic files, an aptitude test still maintains the link between actions and the people who perform them.
These signs are becoming increasingly common around waterbodies with agricultural runoff — as it’s more politically expedient to restrict the usage, rather than the polluters. As one local politician said, “Farming is as important as any lake.” [And it makes bigger campaign contributions too.] Tell your kids to use the red crayon. Red for danger.
Unfortunately, industry handouts are the only basis for almost all the agricultural “reporting” done by media outlets in this country. The agricultural lobby is probably the most powerful lobby in America, comprised of not only multi-national food giants, but also some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical and chemical corporations. With the kind of power that caused Obama do a 180 on his pledge of agricultural regulations, and the political unimportance of the rural poor, it’s not surprising that theirs is the only voice most people ever hear. I thought of making these billboards with graffiti, but how much more satisfying it would be to see them being forthright for a change.
A graphic reminder of the many dangerous substances, gases, and pathogens associated with liquid manure. Not only is liquid manure spread over millions of acres of land where it seeps into the soil and groundwater, and runs off into our streams, rivers and lakes — it’s an all-pervasive part of the rural environment. Factory farmers like to pretend that liquid manure is just manure, but do a search on some of these components and you’ll realize why there are no long term studies on the health of factory farm neighbors.
This two-page spread on respirators is entirely factual and its recommendations are no more than prudent. The only thing over the top is the effort being made to deny it. I have documentation showing that those who have been entrusted with the welfare of the public at large are allowing injury to rural residents by permitting agricultural activities without oversight or enforcement of regulations, and are deliberately withholding disclosure of the special risks and restrictions incurred by prospective buyers of property in an Agricultural District. This documentation will be included in my next book: Cornithaca County.
Traditional hopscotch rules and layouts are overlaid with a pattern of sorrow for the death and destruction of rural families and communities. Hopscotch is a game that can be played by the poor, without any sports equipment, playing fields, or car pools. And since this is a game for and by children, it avoids the “killer instinct” so prized by the rich and ambitious, and so familiar to the rural poor of our country.
Unlike the “100 Bottles of Beer” it’s based on, this sing-a-long recounts an ever-increasing number of Genetically Modified milk cows in an ever-expanding [and increasingly profitable] factory farm. Long before they get to “nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety GMO Cows” you’ll be screaming “This is my stop!” And since industrial farming externalizes so many of their costs with government subsidies and tax credits, you really don’t want to know how much you are actually paying for a gallon of their genetically modified milk.
This two-page maze uses an obstacle course of composting cows. The industrial farming practice of confining cow in sheds, continuous feeding them antibiotics, hormones, and anything else that lowers corporate maintenance and boosts milk production reduces their “natural” lifespan from 17 years to 5 years – and with factory farms stuffing their sheds with up to 30,000 cows per farm, they produce a lot of carcasses. The modern cost-cutting way is to dump them in piles and call it “composting.” But, with only the outside of mounds and the seepage visible, who knows what’s really inside. Maybe there could be a horror movie where some GMO carcasses are transformed into monsters – zombie cows? Moojo? Cows on the Plane?
This poem was a lot of fun to write. The rhythm is meant to be read or spoken with an increasing beat, like a motor starting slowly and picking up speed. The vehemence should increase with the speed to almost a froth — until collapsing in the final line. A political tradition of attack and no facts. A fitting bookend.
Industrial farmers call on farming traditions, closeness to Nature, and their contributions to the health and well-being of society in creating their updated “mid-century” image. And yet their sensitivity to any negative comment or environmentally protective regulation shows that this construction is paper thin. It’s only a step to burst through the screen and see the reality this anthem embodies.
You need to follow both the letters and the numbers to complete this page. After you connect the dots in the book, hold the page up to a window and a chilling picture is revealed. I had more ambitious [and more complicated] ideas, but had to scrap them due to the time they would have required. Any pages that were started and could not be completed in a timely fashion were dropped. Limiting the scope of this project to black & white, at least a page a day, and 100 pages, actually increased my comfort zone and kept my destination in view.
This simple board game requires no strategy or complex rules, so it’s easy for small children to play. If dice are not available, a spinner can be made using the supplied artwork. The escape theme and factory farm hazards provide the right amount of thrill for the imagination of younger children.
I just couldn’t get all my favorite book ideas into two pages, so I added a third. While many of the ideas that were roughed out were never realized in Family Farm Fun, I planned a 100 page cut-off and kept pretty close. For my next book, Cornithaca County, I already have almost 400 idea folders, so there’ll be plenty left over to fill the Bookshelf pages [and for other uses.]
This is the facing page to the previous Factory Farm Bookshelf page posted. It presents more ideas for books that I would like to have had the time to write. The Ag Almanac in particular is a book that could cut industrial agriculture deeper than deep plowing cut the prairie.
I don’t know what to call the use that I made of this famous poem. It wasn’t recycled because so much of the original structure remains. It wasn’t repurposed because love of nature is at the core of both. Probably “redecorated” would be a better description: Twisting the strands of reverie to make a net that captures the darker side our false stewardship. In these days of acceptable pollution and understandable destruction of the natural world, no amount of academic assurances can ameliorate the pain of seeing what is being done.
It was a pleasure to write these limericks. I use the verbal structuring of limericks and other short poems to “cleanse my pallet” between sessions of non-verbal artwork. They also give me the opportunity to make observations about the situations that people find themselves in and how they behave. I have published two books of poetry: “As a Poet, I have a Confession” – a small selection of light and dark pieces, and “Please Take Care when You Utter a Curse” – 100 limericks. Both these books can be downloaded for free at a number of online outlets, including Smashwords.com. “An activity book from Nantucket . . .”
It may be Election-day, but un-elected officials can wield great power and have little public accountability. Regulators can weather political storms and still succumb to the strong undercurrents of a bureaucratic sea. What is corruption and what is quid pro quo? It may just be a question of survival.
Another easy-to-solve maze and coloring page for younger children. And another chance to make a rhythm and rhyme couplet for me. You rarely can see a herbicide drift, but I can attest that you’ll know when you’ve been in one.
I have always felt this poem to be so on target that I pinned a doodle on it and let fly with an arrow of my own. Today’s industrial agriculture has championed the concept of acceptable amounts of pollution and used “naturally occurring” as a smoke screen to misrepresent the real dangers of their actions. One agricultural college professor I spoke with recently took the position that the sickness and death of rural families is a small and necessary price to ensure that industrial farming has ability to feed the hungry around the world. His ivory tower must have a dungeon.
The phrase “8,000 square miles” refers to the size of the “Dead Zone” of hypoxic waters in the Gulf of Mexico that is created by nutrient pollution. You are one of up to 3 players attempting to pollute a specific square mileage while dealing with regulatory hazards you encounter along the way. There are 106 cards, including hazards, a variety of Dead Zone areas, remedies, and four immunity cards. To curb runoff and reduce nutrient pollution flowing into the Mississippi River, Iowa introduced a voluntary Nutrient Reduction Strategy for agriculture. In 2018, after 5 years of this program, nutrient runoff had actually increased. Agriculture produces 90% of Iowa’s nitrogen runoff. Other states are introducing similar voluntary programs. The book includes complete instructions, and copy-able scoring pads and cards [including a card back design.]
Every fish kill has a story, but you never hear the fish’s side of it — now, as they break the plane, and move on to another plane of existence, you are there! I still don’t know why I made this page, but I still like it.
Turning Big Ag’s omnipresent public image upside down reveals a reality you won’t read about in any newspaper.
Closely modeled on agricultural guidelines for cheaply disposing of animal carcasses, this instructional handout gives a nod to both corporate farming attitudes, and the unreported deaths of those who work on them.
This page is from a spread describing the fun activities that can be brought to your town when you host an industrial farming festival. There’s no better way to educate your kids about everyday life in today’s Ag Ghetto.
The Farm-cheesi pages in the book include the game rules, maggot tokens, and a board in four parts that can be copied and assembled as shown. The object is to move your maggots on a life journey from the carcass to become an egg-laying adult. If using real maggots for tokens, they should be frozen and then colored with markers or dipped in food coloring to represent the different players. The use of live maggots is not recommended as they may move to another space illegally. WARNING: Microwaving maggots can cause them to explode.
Many nursery rhymes are known for containing a darker message below the surface — with these industrial farming rhymes, the poison has spilled into plain view. Which way would you choose to handle it?
More difficult than the “Easy Maze” puzzles, this bureaucratic maze mirrors the real life frustration of activists who struggle just to reach the “hearing” stage — knowing that behind closed doors the decision is all power and politics. It’s as frustrating as an old Dos game that locks up every time you hit the Boss level.
This booklist gave me a chance to use some of the ideas that were outlined, but never fully developed. I enjoyed creating the “Spillboard’s Top 100” song titles the most, especially “Don’t Step on My Blue Baby’s Shoes” — I can almost hear the lyrics.
Writing this page of book/author jokes brought back memories of high-humor in grade school. Humor has the ability to leap the wall of obfuscations and directly address the issue. It was very much a juggling act to keep the pieces in the air until a book title and author’s name finally came together.
This poster is entirely truthful. For those of us who live in an "Ag Ghetto," there is no one to turn to for the protection of our families — and no government agency that is willing to speak out in our behalf.
I don't know whether it's better to touch what you can't see and guess, or touch what you can see and guess, but in this case it's best not to touch it at all. One in a series of Factory Farm Party games for kids.
I counted them several times to make sure they're correct. [I hope so. I was always having my papers marked with "careless" when I was in school, but now I tell people it's a learning disability.] The solution is in the back of the book.
I always liked activity books as a kid. They were an inch thick and made of a slightly yellowish newsprint that you only see in some big art pads today. A large part of the fun was the variety of ways they provided to entertain yourself and your friends. That's something I have tried to bring to this book — there are even a number of games for your child's next Factory Farm Party!
OK, I know it's sick, but I had to put it in. [A lot of others didn't make it past the chuckle.]
I thought the third one would be the hardest, but I've been told it's the easiest. Try them with a dry mouth.
A young child should have no difficulty with this maze, but there are solutions for all the puzzles and mazes in the back of the book. This could also be used as an additional coloring page.
The industrial farming "maze" from a societal viewpoint.
Both the World Health Organization and the CDC have grave concerns about industrial farming's misuse of antibiotics and the creation of antimicrobial resistant pathogens . . . why aren't we?
View industrial farming from the inside of a corn maze, and all you see is the corn. But view it from a different perspective . . .
Is the urban dairy a satirical poke at the "dump it in the country" agenda, or a practical proposal? Even as I was writing it, I couldn't decide.
My cousins and I could never get enough television Creature Features and Saturday matinee monster movies. I had fun using the same "science and hubris" vernacular to create these snapshots of the monsters we are unleashing through our reliance on industrial farming methods.
Working Title: You Know You Live near a Factory Farm When Your Kids Go Fishing with a Pool Skimmer
This Book Is In Development
This book has already been published (see below.) Due to the pictorial nature of this book, these Book Bubbles cannot be extracted from the epub file format needed to upload an existing book.
Concerns about conflict of interest and ethics have no place in the agricultural decision making process. Whenever issues of agricultural pollution go public, or large manure spills hit the headlines, the Soil and Water Conservation Committee becomes omnipresent, appearing at every conference and quoted in every article — but what is this committee? The name causes people to think that their commitment is to the protection of our natural resources, but this is not the case — their commitment is to the protection of agriculture’s image, and its interests. By New York State law, three out of the Committee’s five voting members have to be farm: One from the Farm Bureau, one from the Grange, and one Representative-At-Large for Farm Interests. And as an influential component of every task force responsible for cleaning up our lakes and waterways, they make sure that no goals are set, and no regulatory steps are taken that restrict the profitability of industrial farming in New York. You can’t judge a committee by its cover story.
They just don’t want to hear it. Voice mailboxes make it easy for government employees to avoid taking action on agricultural complaints — just “leave a message,” and wait for a callback . . . Or you could try another employee and leave a message, and wait for a callback . . . Then, if you decide call the clerk’s office, they put you through to a voice mailbox where you “leave a message,” and wait for a callback . . . [Do they really expect us to know our party’s extension?] Finally, when you get a callback, they say can’t do anything to help and pass you on to another department . . . with a voice mailbox . . . where you can “leave a message. . .”
Don’t do this at home! That being said, factory farm pollution seems to permeate everything in the neighborhood. The prevailing winds sweep up the valley past the fifteen years old CAFO next door, with it big metal cow sheds and multi-million gallon open cesspit, directly at my house. Anybody who says that liquid manure is just cow manure in a liquid form is lying. Not only is it filled with the hormones, antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria that are a byproduct of factory farm methods, it’s fermented in giant open air pits for months, resulting in a number of deadly toxic gasses. These gasses have caused so many deaths, that farm workers are urged to wear gas masks when working around these pits. While the deadly gasses these pits generate, like Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), can travel for miles without dissipating by an effect known a pluming, no admission of this, or long terms studies on the health of rural neighbors have ever been made.
Goodbye to red barns and cows in the pasture, when you live around an industrial farming dairy operation you see . . . an aberration. While any natural meadow would be filled with animals, birds, butterflies and insects, thousands of acres of factory farm fields seem empty of all life except genetically modified crops, herbicide modified weeds, antibiotic modified pathogens, and of course, blowflies. Rural America has moved from the natural world of farming to the unnatural world of industrial farming, and it’s fitting that all that’s left to survive and thrive is this age-old symbol of death and decay.
In New York State, as in many others, state and local government doesn’t attack the source of agricultural pollution, they attack the source of the complaint. If residents on and around the lakes are outraged at the situation, authorities gather “feedback,” and then exclude them from any further participation. If the people demand immediate action, authorities hold public meetings and seminars to explain how more data and studies [that will take years to perform and evaluate] are needed to get to the bottom of this complex situation. If residents complain that agricultural pollution is destroying their lake, authorities talk about how this kind of pollution is “natural occurring,” while carefully avoiding how much is unnaturally occurring. If the public has a clear perception of the role agricultural nutrient pollution in a lake’s impairment, authorities confuse the issue by substituting other culprits. New York bureaucrats are currently promoting zebra mussels in this way as a distraction. Mark Twain popularized the saying “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.” — This is an excellent description of our government’s agricultural pollution cover up.
Q: Where do flies go in the winter? A: To your house [if you live near a factory farm.] While the illustration is evocative of summer months, blow flies have become a year-round pestilence in rural America. In northern states, even in the winter, when the wind is in the right direction, factory farms open their shed doors and exhaust an extra big helping of flies. When the snow flies, there are still blow flies for factory farm neighbors.
While the action pictured here is part of a growing reality in our rural communities, real estate disclosure forms refuse to inform prospective buyers of these agricultural methods, and the health risks and abrogated rights of property owners in an Agricultural District. When I wrote a letter urging authorities to “update the New York State Agricultural District Disclosure Form and Notice to ensure that prospective buyers understand the financial and health risks of living in an Agricultural District so that they are in a position to make an informed decision” none of those county and state representatives and health officials, even acknowledged receipt.
Even though they admit that agriculture is responsible for more than four times the nutrient pollution in Cayuga Lake as all other sources combined, New York State regulators claim they don’t know what is causing the Lake’s impairment and algal blooms. When they’re not stonewalling agricultural pollution questions, local, county, and state agencies are making public statements fully as ridiculous as the one on this page.
Nothing highlights the destructive nature of industrial farming better than the effect it has had on our water. As the wells that are the only sources of water for the rural community are polluted through factory farm seepage and run off, politicians and bureaucrats claim that they can’t be tested because it would be a “violation” of the resident’s rights. It’s enough to make a cat laugh. The only two rights left to the rural community are the right to be poor, and the right to be a victim.
I created this image to commemorate the time I was sprayed with Roundup while I was mowing my lawn. Later that night I stood in the middle of the bathroom completely out of it, vomiting all over myself, the floor and the toilet. Even though the wind was gusting to 23 mph and the application took place in a sensitive area with rural families living nearby on three sides, the NYSDEC refused to issue more than a warning. Why? Because they didn’t want to.
Scary for Halloween: How old sitcom theme songs come back to haunt you. While the music is still playing in your head, imagine an industrial farming version of this classic TV show — Your mind will be overflowing with plot ideas like a hog lagoon in a hurricane.
Industrial farmers are ever-vigilant in their efforts to keep a wholesome image. In the unreported media gulf between urban newspapers and “Ag ghetto” trailers, theirs is the only voice. And they never stop trash-talking the rural community. In an age that pretends to enlightened social justice, the “hillbilly,” “trailer trash,” “good-ole-boy” is a target that is fair game to all . . . because they’re “racist” and “ignorant” and “backwards” and “uneducated” and you really don’t know anything about them. They’re people who live independently with almost no money, and no representation at all. You won’t see them golfing at your country club, but you might meet a rich factory farm owner — telling “redneck” jokes.
You know you live near a factory farm, when manure comes out of the tap Whenever I read articles and handouts concerning industrial farming “accidents” [like the dozens of giant above-ground hog lagoons overflowing after Hurricane Florence] I check them against my 4-step agricultural cover up list: 1. Discredit the witnesses/complainants 2. Discredit the facts 3. Discredit the situation 4. Hide behind laws and regulations It’s particularly useful to look at comments from agricultural colleges and universities. These colleges frequently brag about their close industry ties, or “partnerships,” and receive much, if not most of their funding from industry sources. Land grant agricultural colleges are directly under the authority of the USDA, which in turn is under the political control of agricultural interests. Dismissive and obstructive statements are also issued by government departments — where playing ball is frequently the key to promotion and career longevity.
Factory farms create a toxic environment that can dramatically raise the incidence of cancer in the nearby community. Airborne drifts of Roundup and other pesticides are common. The farming lobby claims it’s the rural “lifestyle” that is the cause. Is living near a factory farm a lifestyle?
Spreading and spraying liquid manure onto a snow-covered field just before a predicted rain or a thaw is a favorite way for industrial farmers to get rid of it. Run off from the frozen slopes quickly gathers at the lowest point — a stream or a pond, or a neighbor’s yard. If caught, they’ll only get a warning, so this has become a common practice around factory farms.
In Rural America the biggest threat to the health and well-being of the community is the same activity that once strengthened and nurtured it — farming. Industrial farming is rolling the dice against a dystopian future of environmental meltdown, antibiotic-resistant pathogens, and genetically modified organisms in a race to quickly amass wealth. Using a simple picture-book style, and the buoyancy of humor, this book navigates the flood of destructive farming practices that have already engulfed the rural community, and are spreading.
Learn about the plight of industrial farming with this satirical social justice activity book with games, mazes, sing-a-longs, poems, coloring pages, stories, and more — all to do with industrial farming from a rural point of view. You’ll laugh through each page and ponder the underlying causes of our country’s dangerous factory farming habits. If you enjoyed documentaries like Super Size Me, What the Health? and Cowspiracy, then you’ll find Family Farm Fun an entertaining and enlightening add-on to the growing facts surrounding our food and the environment.
Working Title: Cornithaca County
This Book Is In Development
“Cornithaca County” is a fictitious name for a real future. The first part of this book will contain stories, games, jokes, and activities that dissect the actions and intent of elitist policy making in the county. The second part will document actual incidents and issues that raise questions about the conduct of those who have been entrusted with the welfare of the public at large. At the end of the book, I will present a powerful circumstantial case — and a chilling denouement.
Why is Artificial Intelligence so scary? Because it works so completely to the advantage of those who have the most money and power . . . and want more. While Artificial Intelligence may be problematical in the workplace, it’s the perfect vehicle for oppression and control. Many of the people who hold at-risk “low-level” jobs face challenges and conditions on a daily basis that lie far beyond the statistical-averaging tools of AI’s apologists. There are real world reasons why “upskilling” is not a possible option. You might as well tell a dishwasher who is “AI’ed” out of a job to get one as a school superintendent or a stockbroker, and then then claim it’s their fault for not following your advice. We’re living in the days of such fatuous expertise. More importantly, even though “AI Erosion” is already underway, there are no “upskilling” programs available for these workers, or being planned.
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