The rage in the rural communities surrounded by CAFOs, ( Concentrated animal feeding operations, factory farms, liquid manure systems), builds. In Hillsdale and Lenawee Counties we have unpredictable, but chronic stench, it is mind numbing, and risks our health and mental health and makes us very, very angry.
Today, on Cadmus Rd. and Dowling Highway, in Hudson Township, Hartland Farms has spray-irrigated tankers of liquid manure on wheat stubble along the Garrison Drain. The stench forces neighbors to go inside and close windows on the first sunny day in a long time.
Many work outside all day.
We have the right to work outside in our gardens, in our fields, in our greenhouses, to enjoy our property.
WE have the right to breathe air that does not smell like someone's toilet thrown in your face.
Last Friday, several locations in Lenawee and Hillsdale counties stunk with cow liquid feces and urine (not the sweet smelling straw manure but the anaerobic stench of lagoon feces and urine) from Vreba Hoff dairy development corporation, LLC, trucking many semi -truckloads of liquid manure, and spreading them on fields. On that night there was a heat index in the 90's, high humidity and high heat. Suffocating stench. On August 9, Beecher Hwy. stunk from 8:30 in the morning until after 9pm from more ponding of liquid manure spread by Hartland Farms.
This stench is not a 1 or a 2 or a 3 as judged by DEQ staff. It is ruining our lives and our communities. You can't come down and drive around in a car and compare it to some archaic scale based on someone's nose. You have to live in it day after day, fearful of what you will encounter when you open the doors or close the windows because often it seeps in. Many people have no air-conditioning in this rural area. They sit outside and open windows in the summer. Many are old, a few are sick and some are dying and forced to breathe this stench.
So I ask the Michigan legislature to justify what they have done to us with the Right to Farm Act? I ask MDA, MSU and MSU Extension, how they sleep at night, promoting this form of agriculture? I challenge Dean Jeffery Armstrong to use his position at MSU and redesign this awful, failing system of food production. I ask - who around here will support preserving farmland, even those of us who have farms and make our living off our farms? I challenge all on Envrio-Mich to ask themselves how that meat and milk they consume, was produced, and who suffered for it? And I ask why in 2004 this is the method of meat and milk production? It is NOT more efficient. It harms the environment. It harms people. Why do it?
Kathy Melmoth, RN and truck farmer,volunteer for ECCSCM