On February 4, 2017, I attended a meeting entitled, “Factory Farming in Minnesota” held at Assisi Heights Spiritual Healing Center in Rochester, MN. My estimate of people in attendance was about 60-70. The majority of the people in the audience were retired seniors. I am going to guess about 15 farmers were also in attendance.
Who was on the panel?
The format of the meeting consisted of four panel speakers who each presented their designated topic. At the end of their presentations, audience members were asked to write questions down on a small piece of paper, which was then submitted to the moderator. Panel members were Sonja Trom Eayrs (lawyer and farmer’s daughter), Colleen Carpenter (Theology, St. Catherine University), Jeff Johnson (Philosophy, St. Catherine University), and Chris Peterson (pig farmer and SRAP associate). The moderator was Scott Walker of Cascade Meadow Wetlands and Environmental Science Center.
Who were the sponsors?
St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, Cascade Meadows Wetlands and Environmental Science Center, MPIRG, Clean Water Action, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, CAA, The Human Society of the United States, Birchwood Cafe, Environment Minnesota, SRAP, Dodge County Concerned Citizens, Change Food, Celeste’s Dream Young Adult Spirituality, Earth Dance Farm, Minnesota Peacebuilding Leadership Institute, Justice Commission, Midwest Organic for Sustainable Education Service Moses, People’s Food Coop, SFA.
I am not going to go into great detail about the history of the Trom’s history in Dodge County because from what I have been told, that alone could take an entire blog post. Here is the gist of the story – A young farmer built a 2400 head hog barn .7 miles from Sonja Trom’s parents. (Sonja is originally from Dodge County but now lives in the twin cities where she is a lawyer.) The young farmer went through all the proper permits in building the hog barn and proceeded to build it. The Trom’s (Sonja’s parents) did not like it and sued Dodge County and the young farmer claiming water quality and odor nuisance. In fact, during the meeting, Sonja Trom claimed their dog vomits often due to the “factory farm stench.” In the end, she feels that there are far too many factory farms that are causing environmental damage and she is willing to do what it takes to rid the state of them. She has gathered support from different organizations sympathetic to her cause.Continue Reading