Barns and Ignoble
“Factory farms” — huge, mechanized corporate operations — are a far cry from the American pastoral image (that little red barn on the hill). But such farms are becoming ever more common, and not just in the Midwest. In Pennsylvania, for example, large-scale hog farms have doubled in the last decade, provoking environmental, agricultural, and legal battles across the state. Those battles are coming to a head in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Belfast Township, whose prohibition on corporate involvement in farms has been challenged in court. Belfast says it’s acting in the public interest to protect the environment and small farmers; the industry, which says factory farms are a modern, efficient way to meet consumer demand, clams the township has no right to regulate farm ownership and is unfairly discriminating against corporations.