Big livestock farms breed controversy in rural IL
BUCKHART, Ill. (AP) — Life seems bucolic in rural Illinois, where farmsteads dot country roads, fields of corn and soybeans stretch for miles and families carry on agricultural traditions that span generations.
Robert Young was born into this life 68 years ago on the same central Illinois farm where he tends a small herd of cattle, where a weathered house and outbuildings serve as reminders of his long struggle to make ends meet. There's also something new — a 29,000-square-foot barn where Young fattens 3,600 hogs for one of the nation's largest pork processers, a venture he embraced several years ago hoping to stay afloat and someday retire.
"The economy tightened up and we were struggling," said Young, who also had a small dairy herd until this spring. So when other hog farmers told him he could make more money with less risk, he took the leap.
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