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Re: E-M:/ Best Management Practices Again



For too long agriculture has remained unquestioned and unchallenged in their production practices because of perceived benefits to urban and suburban and other rural residents. In fact, modern industrial agriculture is responsible for much of the pollution of water and air and this can no longer be ignored. The lagoon and sprayfield and injection system in modern industrial animal agriculture is one example that has a large amount of documentation to support my assertions that this is a form of waste disposal and not recycling of nutrients.  It is a primitive system to dispose of large amounts of liquid feces and urine.
We have 9 industrial dairies in the Hudson, Lenawee/Hillsdale area. These facilities  confine, (note, this is not pasture), 700 to over 3000 cows each and collect manure in 1 to 15 million gallon waste lagoons. This amount of untreated liquid feces and urine applied to this area equals the sewage of a city of 200,000.

This is not rhetoric this is reality. A reality I and my neighbors must live with.  This is not classic recycling. There have been 7 illegal discharges of the 9 industrial dairy CAFO's since February 2000.  The air is fouled with liquid stench on an increasing number of days especially in the spring and fall but also in summer and winter. I and my neighbors have witnessed liquid feces and urine in creeks, being sprayed into trees, being irrigated on corn, being put on snow and frozen ground and washed into rivers and creeks when it thawed. And this is only the beginning.
This is not manure mixed with straw that one sees in smaller operations.
Environmentalists and others concerned about open space and advancing sprawl, cannot ignore the real threats to human health, air and especially water posed by industrial animal agriculture.
There is a long history in this country of industries refusing to bear the cost of  pollution prevention and cleanup. Modern industrial agriculture is no different. With the lagoon sprayfield /injection system we are going backwards in protecting the environment and public health. Unfortunately, all our major institutions refuse to address this because of the relatively small number of poor rural folks impacted and the fact that fouled water and air can be ignored.
We must demand that large industrial animal operations treat these large amounts of  liquid feces and urine the same way municipalities treat their human wastes. The treated effluent can be reused for beneficial purposes and full recycling can be achieved.
Kathy Melmoth
Pittsford, MI
Full time farmer.