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Re: E-M:/ Posthumus -- Anti-family farm, Pro- Pollution from CAFOS

Very good point!  When you actually read the ENTIRE section on ag. and the environment, it shows that Mr. Posthumus does indeed know more about the topic then you give him credit for.

Since is wasn't posted before, below is the whole section.

So what would enforcement look like in your administration? That is part of what is happening. That is the transition. Because in a few short years you have farmers thinking one way and now there are operating systems that have to think very differently. That puts a huge responsibility on Michigan State University, one of the huge issues is manure handling -- waste handling. We are going to have to figure that out if we want to stay in agriculture.

Now, we can say we don't want to do that, but then, I tell you what, you think land has been sold in the past? You wait then. It will be gone.

In our township, we are in a suburban township, relatively suburban. We are the most rural township in Kent County but is like being in the most rural township in Washtenaw County.

Not that rural?

Not that rural anymore. I can tell you most of that land is still being farmed because they have the ability to lease that land to that large producer who needs the land, needs the crops. But the second you close him down, 50 percent of that land is going to be gone overnight.

To development?

Yes, to development. Most of us don't want to sell that land. I don't want to sell my farm. Sure, I could probably make more money on it. But I want to keep it in production.

That is how farming is going to be different. You're going to have large amounts of small landowners owning land that are going to be leasing it to the places where we are adding value. In some cases it could be sugar beets. But is usually going to be turkey operations. Or dairy operations. Some cases, hog and beef cattle. But generally in Michigan not as much as dairy and turkey.

This, to me, is bothersome to some extent. I'd love to see my township stay the way it was when I grew up. But if we are going to stay in agriculture, it's not going to. What we have to figure out is how we are going to keep the land in agriculture.

In some places in the state, agricultural runoff is hampering streams, there is a new dead zone in Lake Erie and there is phosphorous from operations like that . . .

They have to be clean. They have to be clean. And that is the responsibility agriculture and Michigan State has to take.

I've argued that you have to have responsible environmental regulations to exist, but you have to have a system in place where they are not polluting our environment. I don't disagree with you on that.

My point is that the way to eliminate the pollution is not to eliminate those operations that will eliminate agriculture. The way to eliminate them is to put in place the technology that in large part is there. And the regulatory structure that prevents that from happening.

 Grant Trigger wrote:

Enviro-Mich message from "Grant Trigger"

Careful about these generalizations - consider how many rural
communities have waste water lagoons as the only feasible method of
wastewater treatment. The simple fact the lagoons are used does not
make them cesspools - and I suspect (but do not know) that we may still
manage more human waste via septic tanks than CAFO lagoons - the facts
on that might be interesting. It is unclear to me what the alternatives
are - since manure has been spread on farms since even before horses
were pulling wagons what else does one do with manure?

I also suspect Mr. Posthumus has more knowledge of farming practices
than you are giving him credit.

>>> "Anne Woiwode" 09/30/02 11:39AM >>>
Enviro-Mich subscribers:

The past week has seen a number of statements from Dick Posthumus about
position on the death of the family or small scale farm in Michigan,
and how
(despite his campaign statements about the importance of water quality
Michigan) we are just plain going to have to learn to wallow in manure
like it. What is astonishing is how remarkably ignorant this man seems
be of the facts surrounding these issues. Evidently he thinks manure
cesspools, euphemistically known as "lagoons" are a treatment
technology for
the waste, instead of what they really are: large, often unlined dirt
for holding the liquified manure that is rife with pollutants and
increasingly with anti-biotic resistant bacteria, until it can be
spread on

Below are two sources of these comments:

A roughly transcribed answer to a questions by an MPR reporter run on
Friday's news reports (apologies for any errors -- this was transcribed
me by going to the WKAR Radio website while the news item was still
and repeatedly playing it until I think I got it right):
That means having environmental regulations that will allow for the
concentrated livestock operations that need to operate --That is the
difference that many of the environmental advisors to my oponent
understand -- that thats what's happening in agriculture and and argue
well, we can still have these small operations, The fact is they won't
in the future and that they don't exist today.

Second, an extensive section of the Detroit Free Press's editorial
interview with Mr. Posthumus was devoted to CAFOs and agriculture,
none of it showed up in the paper. He claims to have been partly
responsible for the "compromise" that was struck with EPA on permits,
in fact no permit has yet been put out for public review, so nothing
been settled about permits. Here is the website:
http://www.freep.com/voices/columnists/webpost27_20020927.htm -- go
3/4 of the way down in the interview to find comments like this:

Q: But I think some people would argue that one of the reasons the big
operations might not be feasible would be if they were paying for
water treatment to run waste systems away?

A: I don't think that is true. I don't think any agriculture economist
argue that. I think maybe some environmentalists would. But I think if
looked at the economics of the operations, that isn't true. Because
most of
them are already paying for that. Most of them have already said, for
example, the operations in our township have to have very large lagoons
the manure has to be stored in. In then has to be placed in the land
certain times. In fact, this one has even got in some DNR troubles
they didn't do it properly. (excerpt from Detroit Free Press interview
Dick Posthumus, posted to website)

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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