VIDEO: Factory Farming is Pushing Independent Farmers to the Edge of Extinction

Government and industry incentives have accelerated the death of the independent farm — rural residents like Kristy Allen are “literally at ground zero.”

Maximillian Alvarez, Cameron Granadino and Hannah Faris

Kristy Allen, an independent beekeeper in Burnett Count, Wis., extracts honey while describing the threat a proposed factory hog farm poses on local waterways.

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on The Real News Network.

A proposed concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in Burnett County, Wisconsin, is slated to house 26,000 hogs and produce millions of gallons of liquid manure every year. Residents fear the irreparable damage a facility of that size could do to their air, land, and waterways, as well as to their property values and the local economy, and many fear there’s nothing they can do to stop it. 

As part of TRNN’s special collaboration with In These Times magazine for The Wisconsin Idea,” TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez traveled with Cameron Granadino (TRNN) and Hannah Faris (In These Times) to Burnett and Polk counties to speak with farmers and residents in the area about their underreported struggle to protect their communities from the factory farming industry.

In this interview, we speak with local farmer and beekeeper Kristy Lynn Allen about the damage the industrialization of farming has done to agriculture in general, and about the damage the new CAFO would do specifically to farmers like her. Allen is the founder of The Beez Kneez, LLC, and serves as president of the local chapter of the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

Pre-Production: Maximillian Alvarez, Simon Davis-Cohen, Hannah Faris, Cameron Granadino

Studio: Cameron Granadino, Stephen Frank

Post-Production: Cameron Granadino, Stephen Frank, Kayla Rivara

Editors Note: The Real News (TRNN) is a nonprofit, viewer-supported daily video-news and documentary service. TRNN makes media connecting you to the movements, people, and perspectives that are advancing the cause of a more just, equal, and livable planet.

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Maximillian Alvarez is a writer and editor based in Baltimore and the host of Working People, a podcast by, for, and about the working class today.” His work has been featured in venues like In These Times, The Nation, The Baffler, Current Affairs, and The New Republic.

Cameron Granadino is a researcher, camera operator, and editor for The Real News Network. Cameron focuses on prisoners rights and grassroots organizing in Baltimore, MD. @cam_granadino

Hannah Faris is associate editor at The Wisconsin Idea, an independent reporting project of People’s Action Institute, Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund and In These Times.


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