In November, we reported that many farm groups were supporting the legal defense of Maryland farmers Alan and Kristin Hudson, of Berlin, Md., against pollution charges leveled by New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance. Click on legalassault for that story.
On Thursday, SaveFarmFamilies.org reported that more organizations and businesses across the country have joined in support of the defense – seen as a precedent-setter for future litigation. Some 13 state Farm Bureau organizations, Southern States Cooperative, Rabobank International, Maryland Grain Producers and Many More from Across the Country
Lee Richardson, president of Wicomico County Farm Bureau and a SaveFarmFamilies.org member, says, "We've received backing from Farm Bureaus in Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Wyoming and beyond.
SaveFarmFamilies.org members are working to highlight the consequences of the Waterkeeper Alliance litigation tactics and the implications they'll have for family farms across the country. "We believe what the Waterkeepers are doing is a grave injustice, and this legal fight goes well beyond just one farm family," adds Andy Dietrick, director of public relations for Indiana Farm Bureau.
"Farmers around the country are justifiably concerned about this situation. We feel the Waterkeepers' tactics could negatively impact our farm families here in Indiana and we want to stand up and tell them what they are doing is wrong."
"This lawsuit is a pivotal moment for agriculture and we are supporting the Hudsons and SaveFarmFamilies.org because we are concerned that this lawsuit could be the first of many," adds Jason Scott, president of Maryland Grain Producers Association. "It's absolutely wrong for the Waterkeeper Alliance to use the Hudsons as a pawn for their larger objectives. Maryland farmers now live in fear that they'll be the next victim, even as they strive to do what is right for the Chesapeake Bay.
"This lawsuit goes well beyond poultry," he adds. "If the Waterkeepers can bankrupt the Hudsons to win this case, it'll open up the floodgate for them to go after any type of farmer or producer across the country. We're talking about family farmers who are following the rules and trying to make a living producing wholesome, affordable food for Americans."
On Saturday, Jan. 21, Wicomico Young Farmers and Ranchers will sponsor a Hudson benefit dinner at the Showell, Md., Firehall from 6-9 p.m. For more information and tickets, email Wicomico County Farm Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-430-2016.
For a full list of the new supporters and to learn more about sustaining and defending family farms, visit www.savefarmfamilies.org .