Aug 9, 2015

Farmers investing in community earn respect, Polluting CAFO‏s have none

Families in central Wisconsin working to stop an industrialized factory farm from beginning operation know one outcome is certain.

With the inception of a Concentrated (Confined) Agricultural Feeding Operation (CAFO) comes pollution to water, air and earth to which children are especially susceptible.

Academics call these health and environmental costs, negative externalities.

Families call them mortal threats to children and health—as in Kewaunee and Door counties in northeastern Wisconsin.

Notes Jim Lundstrom last year in the Peninsula Pulse. "A young family visiting Door County for a weekend in mid-September were the subject of a public health investigation when they returned to their Calumet County home and their four-month-old daughter came down with an illness that was identified as E. coli bacteria from a bovine source."

Typical. Near deaths are becoming common now across the nation, a warning impossible to ignore.

Scott Walker has called for more mega dairies, CAFOs, producing liquid cow manure by the millions of gallons annually running off into surface water and aquifers. Walker of course rakes in $100,000s from Big Ag, and proposes eliminating the EPA after gutting the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

When sociopaths such as Walker and James Wysocki, a Wisconsin CAFO polluter, propose more land being used as a huge toxic waste dump, nothing good follows. Land and water are not infinite sewers.

Adams County (Wisconsin) resident, Don Ystad, wrote an op-ed column in the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune this weekend. An excerpt follows.

Writes Ystad in an email:

Concerned citizens, friends and neighbors,

For those of you who do not receive the Tribune ... I was introduced to the Malm family and their farm a few weeks ago. They embody the term "America's Dairyland".  You would enjoy knowing them. They are polar opposites of the Wysockis who care only about profits and nothing about community, neighbors, or the environment.

From the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune:

By Don Ystad

We’re watching a cow enter the automatic robotic milking parlor and Bob Malm says, "Sally, the kids and I left the sand country of Minnesota, where you have to pour tons of fertilizer and millions of gallons of irrigation water onto your forage crops. We found this rolling terrain in Clark County (Wisconsin) with solid, nutrient-rich soil and enough natural moisture that we don’t irrigate any of our 700 acres. I’ve not lost a single crop since buying here in 1981, and we don’t irrigate. The rich soil here has enabled us to build a profitable dairy farm that provides a decent income for the three generations of Malms who live here and work the farm." ...

Bob [Malm] is not a fan of huge dairy concentrated animal feeding operations. In fact, he left the sand country of Minnesota for the historically rich soil of Clark County to get away from sandy soils that don’t naturally hold nutrients or moisture. He’s seen how hard farming in sandy soils can be on the ground water levels and water quality. And he understands the 'carrying capacity' of the land, applying manure at a concentration of 3 acres per cow instead of a typical CAFO’s 1.2 acres per cow.

The Malms are the kind of farmers we embrace as 'America’s Dairyland.' And, as my Rome and Saratoga (Wood County Wisconsin) neighbors would agree, we don’t want to live in the midst of Wysocki’s proposed 8,000-acre, 5,300-cow dairy CAFO, whose operators have no concern for the health of the thousands of us living within harm’s way, and no concern for the existing recreational environment we live in. The sandy soil around the Rome and Saratoga area mimics the soil the Malms left for greener pastures. The Malms had the good sense to avoid environmentally sensitive sandy soils and located their farm in good soil within existing farm country. They’ve earned our respect. Not so much the Wysockis.

Let’s hope common sense prevails as the Department of Natural Resources considers permits later this year.

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