The Small-Town Beekeeper Facing Down Big Ag

A conversation with rural Wisconsin beekeeper Kristy Lynn Allen.

Maximillian Alvarez

A beekeeper inspects a bee covered wooden frame that stores the honeycomb inside his hives as he checks honey production on August 7, 2015 in Skelton, England. Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

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. But a diverse coalition of farmers, community members, and environmental advocates is fighting back to protect their homes, their ways of life, and what remains of the independent farming economy. As part of a special collaboration between The Real News Network and In These Times magazine for The Wisconsin Idea,” Max, Cameron Granadino (TRNN), and Hannah Faris (In These Times) travelled to Burnett County over the summer to speak with residents about their concerns and about their struggles against Big Agriculture and the factory farming industry. In this interview, Max talks 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.

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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.

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