Regarding your Sept. 6 editorial “Hog waste hogwash”:
Smithfield Foods has invested $40 million to develop alternatives to lagoons and spray fields. We are working on several significant renewable energy projects that will soon make North Carolina the nation’s largest producer of electricity from hog waste.
But you didn’t mention that. Instead, you criticized the state’s regulation of our industry.
You didn’t tell readers that North Carolina is one of the few states that inspect every single hog farm at least once a year to ensure that runoff is not entering streams and rivers. Instead, you dismissed the industry’s concern that alternative waste methods are too expensive. It would cost $5.4 billion over 10 years to retrofit all of the state’s permitted hog farms, according to a preliminary analysis by an N.C. State economics professor.
You trumpeted a study by the U.S. Geological Survey that found higher levels of nitrates in streams near hog farms. But you didn’t point out that the study failed to identify a single violation of North Carolina’s water quality standards.
You called the pollution of streams and rivers near hog farms “inevitable.” But you failed to mention that the Black River, which runs through the heart of hog country, has been praised for its extraordinarily high water quality. Give your readers the full story.
EVP and Chief Sustainability Officer, Smithfield Foods, Inc.