Bill, this was "old fashioned manure" being applied the "old fashioned way." Yes, it came from a farm with more than 700 cows, and therefore, by definition a CAFO.
What I am trying to get across to the participants on this listserve is that ALL dairy farms, regardless of size, generate, store and SPREAD manure. The manure that comes from a small farm is no more dangerous or less dangerous than that from a large farm. While I understand that some people believe that larger farms, themselves, smell worse due to the sheer volume of manure being stored, that is NOT the case here.
Rather, liquid manure (not "liquified" as though it has somehow been physically altered) was spread by the same tanker truck methodology used by small and large farms alike. It was also incorporated into the soil the same day, in order to both reduce odor and reduce the chance of any run-off into surface waters.
In terms of "agronomic rates" it is a calculation performed that considers the actual soil tests performed on the receiving field, the intended crop for that field, and the nutrient content of the manure. With all of those factors considered, the manure is applied at the rate that will be most beneficial to the crop farmer, without jeopardizing the environment. You should also be aware that non-CAFOs are not typically required to perform these kinds of calculations.
I have seen many emails over enviro-mich discussing how we can keep agricultural land in agriculture. I can assure you that economics are the number one reason that farmers and more importantly, farmers children, decide to simply "cash it in." If the environmental community is going to go to war with the entire practice of manure spreading as a substitute for commercial fertilizer, that will simply drive that many more animal and crop farmers into the developers hands.
>>> "Huron Ecologic LLC" <firstname.lastname@example.org> 09/05/02 02:03PM >>>
Obviously, a normal person under normal circumstances would not react in this way to manure spreading, the old-fashioned way, when it involved the generally unaltered product direct from the source. Either the woman has a problem, or the "manure spreading" was beyond what could be considered a normal, acceptable activity. I'm guessing the latter is true. A recent response to this issue carefully described the "manure spreading" in these terms:
"in conformance with all applicable laws"
"doing their job"
While the activity might be "legal", apparently, "all applicable laws" fall short for this family. Many things are legal, or have been legal, but range from inappropriate to what could be called evil. Many horrible activities have been justified as someone just "doing their job". Some are of the mindset that a "job" justifies the means and the ends. This is a poor argument to say the least. And what determines an "agronomic rate"? Does an "agronomic rate" justify itself on the basis of a theoretical agronomy that exists in a vacuum, completely disconnected from a human and natural setting?
The truth of the matter is more accurately represented by phrases in the initial posting, like:
"she lost control"
Then there is this phrase in a response: "terroristic measures to advance their political agenda". Right. I don't think this woman had a political agenda except to breathe. Some are so quick to jump on the terrorism hype bandwagon these days, but fail to realize that they not only distort reality, but ultimately may be helping to remove their own freedoms. Let's not forget that this nation was founded with the help of individuals that could have been said to use "terroristic measures to advance their political agenda". But then, we apparently have had sense enough to make a distinction between those defending basic human freedoms and those with other agendas. It might be truer to characterize uncontrolled manure application as a "terrorist measure" from this woman's perspective. Hey, maybe E. coli is a "biological weapon". Maybe the political agenda is to get the public to abandon its interest in our waterways so that big agri-business and others can dump even more?
If anything, I think Sierra Club and others should attend this woman's hearing and at least offer some moral support.
Huron Ecologic, LLC
3335 Crooks Road
Rochester Hills, Michigan 48309 USA
phone & fax: 248-853-6233
Huron Ecologic provides wetland delineations, wetland permitting, wetland mitigation design & monitoring, tree inventories, botanical & ecological surveys, natural area protection, nature education, and technical training.
According to the victims and witnesses of the assault, the woman loaded the shotgun in front of them, thus the felonious assault charge. This is the second time in recent memory that a "neighbor" of a farmer, legally spreading manure in conformance with all applicable laws, used a loaded shotgun (in the previous incident near Hudson, actually firing the weapon) to try to intimidate farm workers from doing their job. I certainly hope that the Sierra Club would be as outraged as I am, and join me in publicly condemning this behavior.
While I understand that we may disagree as to whether manure should be recycled as a substitute for synthetic fertilizer, and whether the laws should or should not protect that activity, there can be no disagreement that currently, the law is very clear, that manure spreading, at agronomic rates that do not threaten surface water (but may certainly smell for a day or two) is absolutely legal, and in fact, encouraged. This is regardless of whether the manure comes from small farms or large.
I look forward to your public condemnation of this woman, and anyone else who would use terroristic measures to advance their political agenda.
>>> "Anne Woiwode" <email@example.com> 09/04/02 06:37PM >>>
Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I can't find it on line, but on August 21 the Battle Creek Enquirer reported
that the day before a woman in Athens Twp, in Calhoun County, fed up with
the horrific stench of VDS Farms LLC spreading liquified manure on farmland
rented next door to their home, blocked the tanker truck with her minivan
and wielded an empty shot gun to get them to stop. She and her husband had
previously asked the workers to stop, but when they left the spreading
Her husband said "When you're sitting in your living room, it's like sitting
in a toilet.... I tried to tell her we should go through legal means.... but
she lost control." She was reportedly simply looking forward to spending
some time at home and was frustrated with the smell, according to a State
Trooper. She was expected to be arraigned on charges of felonious assault.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of crappiness evidently is the new big three.
Anne Woiwode, Staff Director, Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
109 East Grand River Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48906
517-484-2372; fax 517-484-3108 email@example.com
visit the Mackinac Chapter on the web at http://michigan.sierraclub.org
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