Another threat to agriculture

Some Kansas legislators are trying to pass a new law (HB 2502) limiting the rights of county residents to determine if industrialized hog farms and dairies will be allowed in their communities. Current law automatically gives citizens the right to vote on allowing hog factories in their county. For industrial-scale dairies, a petition by 5 percent of residents opposing them is required to bring the issue to vote. HB 2502 would increase the threshold for public vote by requiring petition by 10 percent of residents on both forms of industrial agriculture.

Rep. Tom Moxley, R-Council Grove, evidently understands the long-term destruction of family farms caused by industrial agriculture and is seemingly unmoved. The Topeka Capital-Journal quotes him as saying, "the small-farm model is gone in Kansas. It makes sense to seek business expansion through corporate agriculture."

Another troubling statement comes from Rep. Larry Powell, R-Garden City. He says that allowing citizens to vote on development of industrial-scale hog facilities in their counties constitutes "taking" of personal property interests. But, America has a long history of giving citizens the right to determine how their communities are developed to uphold community values and ensure property rights of others are not infringed. Zoning regulations are just one example. During the hog farm controversy in the late 1990s, southwestern Kansas farmers told me that there were times they could not work their fields when downwind from industrialized hog factories, nor could they count on (depending upon wind direction) the simple right of enjoying the outdoors on their own farms ... that's taking personal property interest.

Again quoting the Capital-Journal: J.J. Jones, marketing and trade coordinator at the state agriculture department, said that existing law is a barrier. He used the North American Pig Improvement Company (PIC) as an example, claiming PIC wants to build facilities for 50,000 hogs in five years in Kansas. PIC is owned by Genus, among the world's largest animal genetics corporations with operations in North America, Europe, Africa and beyond. PIC is noted for filing an injunction against a North Carolina farm seeking to prevent the farm from selling PIC-sourced pigs for breeding purposes by claiming the pigs were a trade "secret." Concentration of breeding genetics, with fewer alternatives for replacement breeding stock for farmers, is recognized as another threat to free-market agriculture by contractually restricting producers from using or selling their animals for breeding purposes.

This is Wall Street versus Main Street. Join Kansas Farmers Union and Kansas Rural Center in actively supporting family farms and rural communities by asking your elected representatives to reject this attempt to take away local control.



Thankful for doctors' help

At this time we would like to say thank you to Dr. Pamela Stewart and to Dr. Ronald Cantanese.

In August, Scott had went into the doctor's office for his routine checkup for his meds. At that time, Dr. Stewart requested doing a PSA test, which, when the results came back, his level was higher than normal. She then referred him to Dr. Cantanese for a more thorough checkup. After more testing and a biopsy, the results were that Scott had prostate cancer. This seemed like a slow process waiting for this and that to come back with several visits mixed in. At the time of diagnoses, Scott and I were given a book on the treatments available, for us to read. After reading through the options, Scott elected to have the prostate removed. When talking with Dr. Cantanese we were never swayed which treatment was best, it was really up to Scott to make his final choice. Although at the time we visited with Dr. Cantanese, he also offered to refer us on to Kansas City or wherever we would prefer to go if we would so choose.

We felt comfortable with our decision to stay home and have the surgery done here performed by Dr. Cantanese.

What couldn't have been better than to be told on Thanksgiving Day that the cancer was gone and sitting in a glass jar. But as time goes on, Scott has to have regular PSA checks done to make sure his level stays at zero. Which it is another blessing to have the doctor shake your hand and tell you congratulations and he will see you in another three months.

During the time of all of this, there had been so much negativism on the need for a PSA test and then the need to have a biopsy, but we feel that is the best test that was offered. If it wasn't for this test, we may not have known of Scott's cancer until it was too severe. He had no symptoms that would have alerted us to it. As it was, his cancer was at a stage 2 contained to the prostate.

The reason for writing this is that we encourage all men to consider having the PSA test done, and the awareness of prostate cancer. Our belief is what the doctors feel is best, not the controversy that has been brought up in the press. It is still your choice and your belief as cancer is such a scary word.

Scott is a strong-minded and strong-willed person and his determination helped with the final results.


Garden City