The Orangefield Agriculture Issues Team used commissioners court as a practice run for a competition in Dayton on Nov. 9. Students presented a 10 minute program on the pros and cons of factory farms.

Judge Carl Thibodeaux asked if the competition was a debate.

Jessica Gates, FFA advisor and Orangefield H.S. Agriculture Science Teacher said, “You don’t choose if you are for or against, you just present both sides.” She said subjects cover bio-tech or anything agricultural that is “big in the news or controversial.”

The main con the students had was that with factory farms there was a lack of human contact that comes with a family farm. Animals are kept in tight confinement because with vitamins A and D they no longer need exercise and sunlight. According to the students factory farms produce over 2.7 trillion pounds of waste a year which is a problem for disposal, whereas the family farm use waste as fertilizer for gardens.

The pros say automation allows for larger production. They claim it is not cruel to the animals because they have always been herded, confined and eaten.

Commissioners and Judge Thibodeaux found the program very interesting and educational.
“We told the one pig ‘hello’ every morning,” said Thibodeaux of his life on the family farm. He said they would look at the food on their plate and ask dad, “Is this Scruffy?”

Commissioner Precinct 1 David Dubose said their dad always told them no, that they traded Scruffy at the market for one they could butcher.

In other business, the court kept the burn ban in effect for another week on the recommendation of Emergency Management Director Jeff Kelley. “It’s not much different than last week,” said Kelley. “There’s no appreciable chance of precipitation in the next seven days.”

Kelly also said there are some changes that need to be made in the Shelter of Last Resort. “The specification was not tight enough to achieve the flooring system desired.” He said to get the polished concrete floor, a laser needs to be used to ensure the level of the floor, whereas the specifications were for level concrete, just not to that degree. Kelley said it shouldn’t add a lot to the cost and will still be within the five percent leeway in the contracts. He also said it will still be cheaper than another flooring system; using tile as an example. The floor will require no waxing or maintenance, just mopping.

Bills were paid in the amount of $873,606.20 with $653,779.35 out of the general fund going to G&G Enterprises for the Shelter of Last Resort.

In open comments to the court, Jerry Wilson brought up the fact that he brought 56 documents of people that voted twice in the election four years ago to the county and no action has taken place since that time. “I put it squarely on the district attorney,” said Wilson.

He also brought up the fact that he gets charged for data from the county. “It’s sold to me by bytes,” said Wilson. According to Wilson, the Republican chair gets data free. He said he knows that from an e-mail she sent out. Wilson said he has receipts for data totaling over $5,300 and feels if he has to pay for the data, then so should the Republican Party.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.