The pig-feces stained street sign for Daisy Miller Lane reminds Rene Miller that things used to be different here. Rene grew up in this home on the modest plot where her mother Daisy once raised corn, chicken, and pigs. But that was a long time ago, before the industrial farm took over, spraying hog waste on the field fewer than 50 feet from Rene’s front steps. When the sprayers are on, the slightest breeze blows a noxious brown residue all over the outside of Rene’s house and car. On a summer day, even opening a window is an ordeal. “I have to do a breathing treatment,” says Rene, who currently suffers from asthma, sinus problems, and a potentially fatal inflammatory lung condition called sarcoidosis. None of these conditions were present before industrial farming came to Duplin County. That was the 90s, and about the same time when Rene stopped hanging laundry or hosting family barbecues. But it was also when Rene started speaking out. Today, she persists, despite the threats of retribution some of her neighbors have received. She sits on the board of Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH). After experiencing the impacts of the pig industry first hand, Rene no longer eats pork products and encourages her neighbors to do the same.

Pledge to Be a Good Neighbor