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



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Enviro-Mich message from Barbara Jean Madsen <bjmadsen@umich.edu>
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On Mon, 30 Sep 2002, Grant Trigger wrote:

 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?
>
The problem is not the practice of manure spreading per se; it's the
amounts.  Back in the days when horses were pulling wagons, the ratio of
manure to acreage was quite low, since the farmer couldn't keep more
animals than the land would support.  Now that CAFOs are bringing in huge
numbers of animals and feeding them food that was (at least in part) grown
elsewhere, thus resulting in keeping many more animals than the land would
be able to support by itself,  the ratio of manure to acreage has
increased, probably by orders of magnitude.

This issue of scale also makes the comparison with septic tanks rather
misleading, since septic tanks and fields are, I believe, required to be
more or less in scale with the numbers of people that use them.

--Barb Madsen

>
> >>> "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org> 09/30/02 11:39AM >>>
> Enviro-Mich subscribers:
>
> The past week has seen a number of statements from Dick Posthumus about
> his
> 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
> in
> Michigan) we are just plain going to have to learn to wallow in manure
> and
> like it.  What is astonishing is how remarkably ignorant this man seems
> to
> 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
> pits
> for holding the liquified manure that is rife with pollutants and
> increasingly with anti-biotic resistant bacteria, until it can be
> spread on
> fields.
>
> 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
> by
> me by going to the WKAR Radio website while the news item was still
> posted
> 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
> don't
> understand -- that thats what's happening in agriculture and and argue
> that
> well, we can still have these small operations, The fact is they won't
> exist
> in the future and that they don't exist today.
>
> Second, an extensive section of the Detroit Free Press's editorial
> board
> interview with Mr. Posthumus was devoted to CAFOs and agriculture,
> although
> 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,
> when
> in fact no permit has yet been put out for public review, so nothing
> has
> been settled about permits.  Here is the website:
> http://www.freep.com/voices/columnists/webpost27_20020927.htm -- go
> about
> 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
> proper
> water treatment to run waste systems away?
>
> A: I don't think that is true. I don't think any agriculture economist
> would
> argue that. I think maybe some environmentalists would. But I think if
> you
> 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
> that
> the manure has to be stored in. In then has to be placed in the land
> at
> certain times. In fact, this one has even got in some DNR troubles
> because
> they didn't do it properly.  (excerpt from Detroit Free Press interview
> with
> 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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