Public Health

Fair Farms for Healthy Families

Farmers and farm workers live close to the land. Spending their days growing food for families, we owe it to them to ensure their families—and all Marylanders—enjoy safe and healthy living conditions. Public health is important to us all.

Our current agriculture and food system often prioritizes profits over public health. Some industrial farms—especially those involved in intensive animal agriculture—use unhealthy farming practices that jeopardize our environment and, in turn, endanger public health.

Manure PageExcess pesticides and manure from these farms seep into our waterways – the same waterways Marylanders use for swimming, fishing, crabbing, and drinking water. When excess manure from factory farms ends up in our water sources, Marylanders can be exposed to harmful disease-carrying pathogens and bacteria that pose many health risks. Exposure to herbicides like Atrazine, which is used to treat corn, is linked to cancer, thyroid disease, and other systemic problems. In fact, the World Health Organization regards several pesticides and herbicides routinely used in agriculture, such as Roundup, as likely carcinogens.

The routine use of antibiotics in farm animals that are not sick is also contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistance. It is estimated that 23,000 people die every year— and two million people are sickened—by antibiotic resistant superbugs.  Farm workers are at a particularly high risk due to their constant exposure.

Cows CAFOBig factory farms can be unhealthy neighbors, creating foul smells, contributing to air and water pollution, and exposing people to animal-borne diseases. Just as Maryland farmers need reasonable protection from encroaching developments, we also need updated zoning codes that protect Maryland homeowners and residents from noxious fumes and other threats from encroaching, super-sized factory farms with intensive animal agriculture.

Fair Farms believes in a more diverse, healthy, local, and sustainable system. A system where farmers live in harmony with the land and the community and chemical outputs are minimized, and these sustainable farms are supported by consumers. Farming should conjure visions of pastoral landscapes and hardworking men and women cultivating the land – not practices that threaten public health and pollute the environment.

Fair farms mean healthy families.

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Latest Posts

  • Fair Farms Goes to Annapolis to Testify on Antibiotics BillFair Farms Goes to Annapolis to Testify on Antibiotics Bill
    In early March, legislation that would limit the use of human antibiotics in farm animals who are not sick was heard in committee in the Maryland General Assembly. The bills, SB 607 in the Senate and HB 829 in the House, would take effect beginning February 1, 2017. As part of our testimony, Fair Farms pointed out that antibiotic ...
  • The Next Time You Get SickThe Next Time You Get Sick
    My name is Mike Tabor, and I have been farming for 44 years. My home base is in Montgomery County, but my farm is a couple of hours west in the panhandle area north of Hancock, Md. Commuting between farm and home is a tiring pace of life, but one that I love a great deal. ...
  • Polls: Support for Fair Farms’ Legislative PrioritiesPolls: Support for Fair Farms’ Legislative Priorities
    By Mitchelle Stephenson When Fair Farms launched in December, we had two top legislative priorities for the 2016 Maryland General Assembly: antibiotics legislation (SB 607/HB 829) that would restrict the routine use of human antimicrobials in livestock that is not sick; and the Poultry Litter Management Act (SB 496/HB 599), a bill that would place the ...
  • How to Read an Egg Carton 101How to Read an Egg Carton 101
    Farm Fresh? Natural? Roaming?   The amount of descriptors on egg labels can be frustrating. This situation is particularly annoying if you are a Fair Farms consumer, and actually interested in figuring out what all of these labels mean. Are these labels actually promoting more humane and/or sustainable farming practices? We’ve done a little decoding to make ...
  • Physicians Like Me Are Alarmed at the Overuse of Antibiotics in the Farm SectorPhysicians Like Me Are Alarmed at the Overuse of Antibiotics in the Farm Sector
    By Dr. Tracy I. Freeman, M.D. As a board certified internist, I’m gravely concerned about antibiotic resistance and the role that agriculture plays in this growing problem. The word is out in the medical community: Physicians increasingly recognize infections that can’t be treated with antibiotics and reserve them for when a body can’t clear an illness ...

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