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Activists float dialogue over hog farm nuisance lawsuits

WARSAW (AP) Activists in the heart of North Carolina’s pork country say contract hog farmers and their neighbors should start talking about solutions.

The Herald-Sun of Durham reported that community organizers in Duplin County called for dialogue Aug. 4 after a federal jury again decided pork giant Smithfield Foods is responsible for millions in damages linked to industrial-scale hog operations.

The NC Environmental Justice Network’s Naeema Muhammad says the company pits farmers who raise its hogs under contract against people living nearby. She says neighbors just want to escape the stench of open-air waste pits while farmers want to protect the lifestyle they’ve built.

Jurors on Aug. 3 hit Smithfield Foods with a $473 million verdict over how Pender County farms operated. Juries in two earlier cases awarded more than $75 million.

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