On Maryland's Eastern Shore, both the Chesapeake Bay and the chicken farming industry are sacrosanct. Now a PR and fundraising war has broken out over a lawsuit pitting chicken farmers against Bay advocates.
"With a catch in her throat, Kristin Hudson talks in a video posted online about her young daughter asking if 'they' will take away her daddy's farm.
The video, featured on SaveFarmFamilies.org rallied farmers and others across the country to the side of an Eastern Shore farm couple fighting an environmental group's lawsuit alleging that the farm polluted a Chesapeake Bay tributary.
The Web-based organization has raised more than $200,000 to date from Perdue Farms, agricultural groups and other farmers to help Alan and Kristin Hudson pay legal bills in the 2-year-old case, according to one of the group's leaders. Meanwhile, two Maryland foundations with environmental agendas have poured a comparable amount into supporting the suit filed by the Waterkeepers Alliance.
What began as a grass-roots effort by some Shore farmers to help one of their own has morphed over the past year into a sophisticated fundraising and public-relations campaign that portrays the lawsuit as a David-vs.-Goliath struggle between a fourth-generation farm family and a well-heeled New York environmental group bent on crushing what it calls 'factory farming.'"