Dr. Chris Jones, a long-time water quality research engineer at Iowa University, as part of his book tour for “The Swine Republic: Struggles with the Truth about Agriculture and Water Quality,” will be sharing his insights and expertise with the residents of Missouri during two events:  Nov. 16 in Columbia at the Missouri United Methodist Church, and Nov. 17 in Springfield at the Judy Thompson Executive Conference Center on the campus of Drury University. Both events, set to begin at 6 p.m., will feature engaging panel discussions.

Dr. Jones, a respected authority in the field of water quality research, states, “People in rural Missouri and the rest of the agricultural Midwest deserve a clean environment, safe water, and prosperous towns. We need more than lip service – we need political leaders and action that will support this vision.  Come hear our ideas at the upcoming ‘Clean Water Now’ meetings in Columbia and Springfield.”

The panel discussions will also feature organizer and activist Jess Piper, who brings a unique perspective on the challenges facing rural communities. Piper, a former public school teacher with 16 years of experience, emphasizes the integral role of schools in rural areas and their decline due to the contraction of communities, compounded by the consolidation and/or closing of rural hospitals, small businesses, and family farms.

Piper adds, “The thing about rural decay and rural disinvestment is this: It’s all related. The final straw can be an industrial CAFO coming to town and poisoning our air and water. It’s all connected, but we are here raising our voices against the politicians and the corporations who are harming rural Missourians to turn a profit.”

Tim Gibbons, communication director of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, will contribute to the panel discussion by shedding light on the detrimental effects of corporate agriculture consolidation. Gibbons highlights the alarming fact that a small number of multinational corporations exert excessive control over the U.S. livestock market, leading to dire consequences for farmers, consumers, rural communities, and the environment.

“For example, today, four multi-national and foreign corporations dominate the U.S. pork market at the expense of family farm hog producers. This consolidation has far-reaching implications for our food system, national security, and the livelihoods of countless farm families,” warns Gibbons. “With a new Farm Bill on the horizon, we need a fresh vision and a Farm Bill crafted for and by Americans, taxpayers, farmers, and consumers—not one written by and for corporate interests.”

Rounding out the panel in Columbia will be Livingston County row-crop and livestock farmer, Doug Doughty.  Curtis Millsap joins the panel in Springfield. Millsap Farms raise broilers, turkeys, layers, goats, hogs, cattle, flowers, and vegetables; plus operates a home bakery and several other enterprises on their 20-acre farm.

During both events, attendees will have the opportunity to purchase Dr. Chris Jones’s book, “The Swine Republic: Struggles with the Truth about Agriculture and Water Quality.”

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