Last week, your Upper Neuse Riverkeeper Matthew Starr was invited by Tom Butler to visit his industrial animal operation, Butler Farms. Tom and Matthew spoke about Tom’s efforts to implement best practices for the environment at his facility. Butler Farms is still a “CAFO” (concentrated animal feeding operation), and it’s still a pollution threat to your waterways; however, Tom has gone above and beyond any other similar facilities. Tom is attempting to do his best to be a good environmental steward and neighbor – with no help from the industry his farm provides hogs for.
Tom wants to ensure he lessens his facility’s impact however he can, using available technology. He’s covered his hog waste lagoons, harnessing methane that is converted to energy to power his facility, and uses solar power as well.
Matthew said, “The most important thing to take away from this is, while Tom is trying to do the right thing here, he is trapped by this industry that he is a part of. They would rather see him go out of business than help him implement good environmental practices. And Tom isn’t able to get out of this business because of the debt this operational model has placed him in.”
If you’re looking for non-CAFO meat options in our watersheds, we created a list of some options this fall – check that out here!