Mega-farms in Ohio offer stench but little else to communities

The Plain Dealer examines the effects of eight giant hog farms built in Paulding County, Ohio, since 1994 and five mega-dairies since 2000, and comes away with a grim cautionary tale. A number of local families have fled from their homes, some unable to live with the stench from open manure pits, others because the hydrogen sulfide emitted by the pits has caused brain damage, they and their doctors say. Three of the massive dairies have also violated the Clean Water Act, according to the U.S. EPA. And what do local communities get in return for hosting these stinking factory farms? Not much. The farms buy only 1 percent of their feed from local grain farmers. They also provide few jobs, and the ones they do offer pay about $7.50 an hour and are largely filled by Mexican migrants. Nevertheless, Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Fred Dailey says the farms are welcome: “In Ohio, they’re all family farms.”