Here is what Cobb wrote back to a letter writer, who was kind enough to share Cobb’s response to their letter with us:
“Thank you for recent letter. We respect your right to express your views about plans by a Macon County family farmer to build chicken houses near Jeff Poppen’s property; however, we also believe you should know the other side of the story.
First of all, the family farmer in question is complying with all state and federal laws including those that regulate drainage from his construction site. In fact, the site is routinely inspected by state-approved inspectors. While Cobb-Vantress does not own the property involved, our representatives have personally visited the site and found all barriers in good working condition, with added reinforcement in many areas.
Second, the farmer involved in the chicken project has already made concessions by changing his original plans for the location of the chicken houses, moving them farther away from Mr. Poppen’s property.
Third, we believe the farmer is in compliance with Cobb’s housing setback standards, which require that any poultry houses constructed to house our birds be a minimum of 1500 feet from a business or school. These standards have never applied to farming operations or to businesses or schools run out of a private residence.
We at Cobb-Vantress are serious about our responsibility to operate with integrity. In fact, we have been working with other family farmers in the area who have already built and are operating chickens houses and they have received no complaints from their neighbors.
We appreciate your concerns and want to assure you we intend to continue to work with our contract family farmers in a responsible way.”
Cobb General Manger, North America
Seems they don’t quite get the difference between legal and moral, or simply considerate. In a different time they would argue that keeping and beating slaves, lynching blacks, or grueling child labor were all just fine because they were legal. I guess no further thought or consideration is necessary. Further, if they found “all barriers in good working condition”, then why did they see fit to add reinforcement?
They didn’t move the houses back any discernible distance if they moved them at all, but they did change the orientation. As they told Jeff, the ventilation vents will now face away from the farm. If there is zero discharge as they claim, why the need to reorient at all?
Another thing, they note they don’t own the property next to Jeff. We know this, and this is exactly why they don’t, they get to shift the burden to Jeff’s neighbor. They profit while the neighbor takes all the risk and pays the price. In order to fight this, we aren’t simply fighting a faceless corporation, we are fighting the neighbor, which you can be sure they’ll remind people of whenever the conversation turns to who is harming the community.
One last thing, when we brought up that we are a business, Cobb proclaimed that in their eyes we are not a business. First they changed the nuisance laws in Macon county to try and remove the threat of litigation by those they impose upon, they got a waiver on Lafayette city laws which kept animal operations out of the city limits. Their hatchery sits in the city limits in the industrial park. What the hell kind of farm operates in an industrial park? (the answer is no kind of farm). They seem quite accustomed to rewriting reality, and covertly working the system to suit their agenda, even when in complete defiance of the will of the community.
This is a perfect example of how they operate.