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Re: E-M:/ Woman allegedly uses gun to halt manure spreading

Enviro-Mich message from "Grant Trigger" <GTrigger@honigman.com>

This is the best summary of the issue yet - I am frustrated by the broad
brushed attacks on farming - the way these comments get spammed and the
"polluter" label being tagged on farmers is just not fair.

My brother no longer keeps any cattle because of the amount of work and
the low return - maybe the vegetarians think this tactic is a good idea
- and those who want any farmland next to a residential home abandoned
to other uses can cheer.

I suggest that anyone who lives in the country should live with farm
noise dust and odor or move to the city - the bubbling concept of
controlling fugitive dust on farms is the next ridiculous idea - try
wetting a field before it is worked!!?  We always tried to spread manure
and harvest or work ground on days when the wind carried dust and odor
away from homes - as most farmers do - but sometimes it is not

So lets put away our weapons and focus on joint strategies WITH the
farming community 

>>> "Kenneth Vermeulen" <VERMEUKW@wnj.com> 09/05/02 01:09PM >>>
Bill, this was "old fashioned manure"  being applied the "old
way."  Yes, it came from a farm with more than 700 cows, and
by definition a CAFO.

What I am trying to get across to the participants on this listserve
that ALL dairy farms, regardless of size, generate, store and SPREAD
manure.  The manure that comes from a small farm is no more dangerous
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
by small and large farms alike.  It was also incorporated into the
the same day, in order to both reduce odor and reduce the chance of
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
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
is going to go to war with the entire practice of manure spreading as
substitute for commercial fertilizer, that will simply drive that many
more animal and crop farmers into the developers hands.


>>> "Huron Ecologic LLC" <huronecologic@netzero.net> 09/05/02 02:03PM

Obviously, a normal person under normal circumstances would not react
this way to manure spreading, the old-fashioned way, when it involved
the generally unaltered product direct from the source. Either the
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"
"agronomic rates"
"absolutely legal"

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
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
initial posting, like:
"liquefied manure"
"tanker truck"
"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
freedoms. Let's not forget that this nation was founded with the help
individuals that could have been said to use "terroristic measures to
advance their political agenda". But then, we apparently have had
enough to make a distinction between those defending basic human
freedoms and those with other agendas. It might be truer to
uncontrolled manure application as a "terrorist measure" from this
woman's perspective. Hey, maybe E. coli is a "biological weapon".
the political agenda is to get the public to abandon its interest in
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.

Bill Collins
Huron Ecologic, LLC
3335 Crooks Road
Rochester Hills, Michigan 48309 USA
phone & fax: 248-853-6233 
e-mail: huronecologic@netzero.net 
Huron Ecologic provides wetland delineations, wetland permitting,
wetland mitigation design & monitoring, tree inventories, botanical &
ecological surveys, natural area protection, nature education, and
technical training.

-----Original Message-----
From: Kenneth Vermeulen <VERMEUKW@wnj.com>
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>;
anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>
Date: Thursday, September 05, 2002 9:36 AM
Subject: Re: E-M:/ Woman allegedly uses gun to halt manure spreading

According to the victims and witnesses of the assault, the woman
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
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
should or should not protect that activity, there can be no
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

I look forward to your public condemnation of this woman, and anyone
else who would use terroristic measures to advance their political

Ken Vermeulen

>>> "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org> 09/04/02 06:37PM >>>
Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>

I can't find it on line, but on August 21 the Battle Creek Enquirer
that the day before a woman in Athens Twp, in Calhoun County, fed up
the horrific stench of VDS Farms LLC spreading liquified manure on
rented next door to their home, blocked the tanker truck with her
and wielded an empty shot gun to get them to stop. She and her husband
previously asked the workers to stop, but when they left the spreading
started again.

Her husband said "When you're sitting in your living room, it's like
in a toilet.... I tried to tell her we should go through legal
she lost control."  She was reportedly simply looking forward to
some time at home and was frustrated with the smell, according to a
Trooper. She was expected to be arraigned on charges of felonious

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of crappiness evidently is the new big

Anne Woiwode

Anne Woiwode, Staff Director, Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
109 East Grand River Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48906
517-484-2372; fax 517-484-3108  anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org 
visit the Mackinac Chapter on the web at http://michigan.sierraclub.org

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