2009-06-04 / Letters

Responds To "Overwhelming Farm Smells"

To the Editor:

In response to the letter written by Ellen Mullenix titled "Farm Smell Overwhelming in Borough," I would like to start by apologizing on behalf of the agricultural community for slight inconveniences that scents bring into your life. The fact that you had to close your windows and use your air conditioning leaves me deeply saddened in a way I cannot begin to describe.

To start, the property values that you think nearby farms destroy is a ludicrous and misguided slight on our community. One, when you bought your property, you knew there were farms nearby. Two, you're actually going to write to the county's only paper and tell us that property values are decreased by local agriculture? One of the only things we have to attract new residents to Fulton County is our lush, rolling hills filled with fresh vegetation. Personally, I've always enjoyed looking out over a field. People move here for those things; if anything, nearby farms help your property value. Three, you live on South First Street in McConnellsburg, odds are your property value wasn't through the roof to start with.

You speak of laws on "air pollution?" Are you serious about this? Air pollution is not the odor brought on by fecal matter. I suggest you visit nearby Roaring Spring and have fun smelling that town on a humid day - it contains a paper factory. Air pollution is the release of toxic, smog-causing gases into the environment. Unless it is an extremely concentrated dose, methane is not at all harmful to the human body. Trust me when I tell you by the time you smell the gas from the manure, it is dispersed far beyond any reasonable concern of any person.

The most outrageous thing you say is speaking of collection systems to produce electricity from manure. So you are suggesting that the farmer incurs a large cost for no reason but to save on a small bill each month. I don't think you know that much about agriculture, but I will tell you this, it is not a highly profitable enterprise to undertake. You honestly think that there is value in putting one of these systems into your average family farm? I am one of the most environmentally minded people you will ever meet. The fact that you make an environmental statement like yours to get your point across is a blatant case of 'false environmentalism.' What you are suggesting is that the farmer not use a natural and organic product like manure to treat his fields but use synthetic chemicals made in a laboratory. Chemicals that are not fully cleansed through the Earth's natural infiltration process, and are not degradable in the traditional sense, will find their way to our local streams and tributaries. That, Ms. Mullenix, is a self-centered argument. Enjoy having your windows closed, learn to live with the smell or move. These are your options.

Josiah Newman

Senior—Agricultural and

Biological Engineering at Pennsylvania State University

Waterfall, Pa.

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