The wink and nod relationship between our public officials and the unsustainable factory hog industry is obvious in Seaboard's press release, headlined "Seaboard farms decides against potential use of Kansas water in Oklahoma operation."

Seaboard and Kansas House Speaker Robin Jennison say essentially the same thing, with different words. Their common statement belies the fact that Seaboard blind--sided our public officials in Kansas, just as they have the residents who live beside their stinking, polluting factory hog operations. Many of their prospective neighbors are attending public hearings after suffering considerable expense for attorneys and independent engineers to present the negative impacts upon the their groundwater supplies and property rights.

These public efforts to stop Seaboard are being directed towards Seaboard's contractor-puppet-former employee, Jim Hicks with Maple Creek Farms, in his request for a permit to build more hog factories.

Furthermore, Seaboard needs to explain why they hide behind employees, former employees and close associates, rather than putting their own name on the official documents for the factory hog sites that they want to develop. Are they trying to hide something? In the case of Maple Creek Farms, citizens have asserted in public hearings that a revision of the permit application was obtained from Seaboard's regulatory compliance officer, rather than Maple Creek Farms. In the case of diverting Kansas water to Oklahoma, it used the name of Alva Stegman, rather than its own name. When our public officials echo their mantra, it even seems that they act under such names as Kansas House speaker, Robin Jennison.

Seaboard says, "We have been recognized for our commitment to the environment, safety and research from universities and the National Pork Producers Association." Seaboard needs to detail these commendations, rather than making such a broad, undocumented claim. As for the pork producer associations and councils (national and state), Seaboard has worked hard in consort with Murphy Farms, and others, to steal producer control of these organizations. They offer a textbook scenario for getting and keeping that control and using the once independent producer organizations for their own gain.

Stewards of the land resents the cavalier and arrogant way in which Seaboard portrays itself as the premier supplier of pork. It not only falsely promotes that it is feeding a growing nation and world, it acts as though it is the "only" one capable of supplying pork products. There are thousands of lower cost and more efficient independent hog farmers, whom they and other big pork packers have put out of business, who would love to have been suppliers of pork. These were independent producers who would have been good stewards, complying with necessary regulations to protect our land, air, water and property rights.

Believe it, or not, there still are some independent producers holding onto hope, and some who would like to invest in the business with sustainable farming and livestock practices, if they could sell into a fair market not controlled by the likes of Seaboard.

It is encouraging to see that the wink and nod relationship between Seaboard and our public officials in Kansas now may be exposed and dealt with. Stewards of the Land thanks the numerous public officials in Kansas who recognize the value of family agriculture and who spoke out in favor of reserving our limited groundwater for indigenous family farmers in Kansas.--Cliff Smedley, Johnson, KS, Co--Coordinator, Stewards of the Land Coalition.

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