WILLARDS, Md.--()--After a very successful summer of fundraising and advocating for family farms, SaveFarmFamilies.org is looking to continue that momentum as the trial between the Berlin, Md-based Hudson Farm and the New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance approaches on October 9th. Over the last few months, SaveFarmFamilies.org has seen support continue to grow and thanks all of its members for their support. SaveFarmFamilies.org looks forward to the start of the trial so the Hudsons can make their case in court and present their side of the story.
“It is obvious to us that the Waterkeepers and Coastkeepers are frustrated with the turn in public opinion against them and are now resorting to any measure to suppress the truth around their claims”
Over the summer months, SaveFarmFamilies.org was able to raise additional funds for the Hudsons’ legal defense through a number of fundraisers, such as a tractor and truck pull and soybean field day reception and silent auction. The organization also launched an awareness campaign that resulted in hundreds of yard signs, a billboard, and a plane flying over Ocean City, Md., with a SaveFarmFamilies.org banner. An upcoming fundraiser will be held on Saturday, October 13 at Hooper’s Crab House in West Ocean City, hosted by the Worcester County Farm Bureau. Details are available at http://www.savefarmfamilies.org/wp-content/themes/news/pdfs/2012%20Poster.pdf.
“The show of support we have received has been incredible. People throughout Maryland and around the country have rallied together to make their voice heard on the Hudsons’ behalf,” said Andrew McLean, president of Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. and a SaveFarmFamilies.org member. “We know that any farmer could have been the target of the Waterkeepers’ frivolous lawsuit and we are looking forward to a favorable outcome to the trial next month.”
As the trial approaches, SaveFarmFamilies.org members have also been concerned about recent actions taken by the Waterkeeper Alliance and Maryland Coastkeeper Kathy Phillips. In particular, SaveFarmFamilies.org members were perplexed as to why the Waterkeeper Alliance moved to block a request to have the Judge visit the farm.
“It is obvious to us that the Waterkeepers and Coastkeepers are frustrated with the turn in public opinion against them and are now resorting to any measure to suppress the truth around their claims,” said Lee Richardson, president of the Wicomico County Farm Bureau and SaveFarmFamilies.org member. “Their opposition to the judge visiting the Hudson farm after they regularly flew over to get evidence for the lawsuit is unbelievable. They have lost all credibility.”
Further, the Assateague Coastal Trust (ACT), for which Phillips works, is using the lawsuit as a way to raise additional funds. A recent ACT mailing claims that “the lawsuit has been drawing down ACT’s financial resources, and putting a strain on our support of other worthwhile environmental protection projects.”
“The fact that the ACT and Kathy Phillips are using this lawsuit as a way to raise funds is repugnant,” said Richardson. “They have essentially attempted to bankrupt a Maryland family farm with hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and now they are trying to raise money off it. Something isn’t right about this situation.”
ACT’s recent fundraising letter demonstrates the negative impact of this lawsuit not only on a Maryland farm family but on a local environmental group, diverting resources from activities to actually help the Chesapeake Bay instead of lining attorneys’ pockets.
“If they are genuinely concerned about the Bay, I suggest ACT rethink their relationship with the Waterkeepers Alliance or any organization that states a commitment to using ‘hard-nosed litigation’ to achieve their objectives. It’s just a travesty to see money donated with the intention of helping the environment be diverted in this way,” said Richardson.
For more information on the lawsuit visit: www.savefarmfamilies.org