Funny thing is I've voiced no opinion either way, though some have tried to say differently, and I am not doing so today.
And let me say this - I am very close to the site. My house is only one street over, and can stand in my backyard and see the earth-moving equipment doing its work.
I will voice this opinion: I like chicken. A lot. Fried. Baked. Broiled. In casseroles. Whatever. If KFC served just the chicken skin, I'd be heaven, because I'd have probably died of a stroke and/or heart attack by now.
But there is something serious I have to say about the chicken farms, or specifically the Cobb Vantress project here in Macon County.
First and foremost, for some people, the presence of chicken farms is a major concern. Whether we agree with them or not, we need to acknowledge that simple fact. It is enough of a concern that some have formed a group to seek a change in our elected officials - that is their right, and if they believe strongly enough, their responsibility.
Next, unless I'm missing something, which is certainly possible - I don't see a way to stop the farm from coming. Approvals are in place and work has begun.
There are legitimate concerns about "chicken farms" in the broad sense - and other farms as well. I recall quite a stink - literally and figuratively that would arise in Texas over cattle ranches. There was the issue of smell, a host of environmental issues, and other concerns local citizens would express.
I do not know yet how this specific farm will conduct its business. None of us really do, but certainly they seem to be taking good steps through involvement with the Chamber and other local groups, and support of community events.
However, their presence is why community involvement is absolutely vital.
You see, while we may not be able to stop the Cobb Vantress project from coming to town, we can do some other things.
There are accounts of other chicken farms in other places acting irresponsibly. Hopefully that will not be the case here.
As citizens we can hold them accountable to be responsible members of our community. Not just in terms of giving of time and money, but we should hold them accountable in terms of hiring locally first - we do have a lot of people right here in Macon County who desperately need jobs.
We need to hold them responsible for maintaining a responsible and environmentally friendly method of disposing of waste. - a method that insures our water table is protected.
I'm not sure what can be done about the concerns over smell - that might take a lot of deodorant - but perhaps there are steps that can be taken?
The best thing here is to meet with Cobb Vantress officials to discuss the concerns.
Also, Cobb Vantress needs to fully understand that they have some neighbors who do not want them there. A sensitivity to this fact, and acting accordingly - along with the aforementioned responsible actions - will go a long way toward easing some of the hostility that exists among some people.
It is not an easy issue, and a lot of people are justifiably concerned.
Perhaps it is time for all parties to work together to ensure the citizen’s concerns are addressed constructively and responsibly.
You may e-mail Clay Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 666-2440 (office) or 670-6989 (cell).
Read Clay’s blog at www.maconcountytimes.com/pages/blogs.