Hudson credits the fund-raising efforts of the Save Farm Families group and countless individuals for being able to continue. "It's amazing how many nice people we've met from all over the country."
People donated thousands and thousands of dollars, plus seed and other supplies. Some stuffed money in their mailbox.
Holding back tears and after pausing, he says, "You can't help but be emotional about all the support. There's no way we can thank anybody the way we should."
Before the pollution accusations, adds the young farmer, "we weren't doing anything wrong. Now, we're doing even more of what's right as a safeguard."
Julie DeYoung, Perdue Farms spokeswoman, says the company is thrilled the Hudson family can put this nightmare behind them. "We're pleased that the Waterkeeper Alliance and their taxpayer-funded legal counsel at the University of Maryland's Environmental Law Clinic decided not to prolong this irresponsible attack on Maryland agriculture."
Waterkeeper's official statement took a different tact: "Although the Waterkeeper Alliance is disappointed with the ultimate conclusion of the case," noted Executive Director Marc Yaggi, "we believe that many of the issues brought to light during the trial ... will lead to progress in protecting and restoring the bay."
Waterkeeper quest likely to continue
Hopes dashed for a tougher federal court precedent-setting ruling for the Clean Water Act, Waterkeeper Alliance likely will be scanning for an easier target. Despite regulations and the best intentions of most farmers, there still are farms making inadvertent nutrient management errors.
"My fear," says Alan Hudson, "is that they'll find someone else to go after. Waterkeeper will back off a bit, but not down."
Before Judge Nickerson's decision came down, Yaggi stated: "Regardless of the decision, the reality remains that the Chesapeake Bay and waterways around the country are dying off from pollution and runoff from industrial factory farms like the one operated by Perdue and Mr. Hudson." That's a viewpoint without evidence, but still a swamp for future lawsuits.
Waterkeeper robes itself as a clean-water crusader. Since the CWA was written 40 years ago, reasons Yaggi, private citizens have played a vital role in enforcing its mandates through the energetic use of the citizen suit provisions contained in major federal environmental laws.
For more background on this case, click on these American Agriculturist website articles:
Waterkeepers_Legal_Assault and Hudson_Perdue_Trial_Reset .