To the Editor:
Regarding my fellow Davidson alum D. G. Martin’s (D.G.’s dad was president of the college when I was there, and he started a year or so after I graduated) column (“A Salisbury woman takes down the hog barons”) in the July 14-20 edition of the News + Record:
The Hog Wars should be over. Maybe not, but SHOULD be. I have puzzled for decades as to how Smithfield Foods could have so many people working for them and no one there have knowledge enough to properly process the manure. Hog farmers in Missouri have done so for years. Chicken farmers around Siler City have also. Egg producers in Europe bag the processed chicken droppings and sell it in little fertilizer bags in the garden stores; they make more money off the fertilizer than they do the eggs!
A fellow from Sanford was going to build a hog farm about a mile east of me and a little west of Steve Sielkop; Steve organized enough opposition that he modified the farm plan. I have never noticed ANY odor. Tried to drive in there a few weeks ago, but the gate was locked about a mile in from Alston Bridge Road. I told him I would not object at all if he would live there. That was 20 years ago. I think he still lives in Sanford.
I would imagine that $32 million would stimulate some city slicker executive at Smithfield to bring in a knowledgeable farmer from N.C. State to teach them how to compost hog manure. Congratulation to Mona Lisa Wallace, et. al. Good job!
A researcher at State developed the slat system that allowed raising hogs out of the mud. The manure initially was washed out from under the slats and hogs into lagoons. It was not long before we learned it stunk less and made better fertilizer composted rather than just spraying the slurry directly onto crops and pasture. Nitrite turns to nitrate and does not stink. Or Smithfield can ask the chicken people. I might add that the beef feedlots have been slow to adopt composting too, but are catching on. Properly composted, manure can produce methane that can be captured and used to run tractors, trucks, cars; and generators for electricity.
John R. Dykers Jr., MD
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