Friday, March 25, 2016

Breaking news: Big Ag admits role in WI well water contamination

Some of Wisconsin's largest concentrated animal feeding operations, (CAFOs), are now admitting what everyone else has been screaming about: these large producers of milk, and thus runoff, seepage and manure, are putting nitrate pollutants into nearby groundwater and wells
Three of Kewaunee County’s most prominent dairy farmers are changing their opinions on whether large-scale agriculture is to blame for groundwater contamination.  
These large farms have certainly played a role in polluting people’s private wells, and farmers need to find a solution, the owners of Kinnard Farms Inc., Pagels Ponderosa Dairy and Dairy Dreams LLC said during an interview with Press-Gazette Media... 
"We are the larger producer of nitrates. We have to have played a role in it,” Dairy Dreams Owner Don Niles said.
It's a start, though "played a role in it" isn't going to cut it.

Public awareness about contaminated drinking water has grown since the catastrophic poisoning of drinking water in Flint, Michigan - - and opposition to CAFOs is spreading from dairy operations in central and NE Wisconsin to Bayfield County, where an Iowa operator wants to put a 26,000 pig CAFO - - by far the state's largest such operation - - within smelling distance of Ashland's drinking water supply and Lake Superior.

Wisconsin public interest attorneys, environmentalists, CAFO neighbors and activists, including this blog, have been sounding the alarm here repeatedly, and it's time that the Wisconsin Legislature and the DNR stop serving special water interests - - and given that the DNR is blatantly obstructionist and ideologically one-deaf - - federal officials need to be here yesterday to take the lead.


Ernest Martinson said...

Since some big dairy farmers are confessing their sins in participating in the pollution of groundwater on this Good Friday, it seems a good time for me to do some confessing. I confess to having paid taxes that have funded dairy subsidies. I have been complicit in allowing these dairy farmers to milk taxpayers. Mea culpa. Mea culpa. For my penance, I promise to fight for the end of the USDA and the farm bill.

Anonymous said...

I understand why you say this is "Breaking News", but this will be buried by Wisconsin's media as it makes their BFF Scott Walker appear responsible for his divide-and-conquer politics. This is not going to get any noteworthy coverage in Wisconsin. An early Friday afternoon story by "US Today Wisconsin Network will not be seen this story will never see the light of day across most of the Badger State.

This is one of the biggest news dump days of the year and this source didn't even withhold the story until 5 pm, because they knew there was no need to. Citizens in Wisconsin are not going to see or hear this story and the national media isn't going to pay any attention.

In fact, the net effect of this will be to enable these same interests and the politicians that do their dirty work to later claim, "but it isn't our fault -- see?!?!? __________ (fill in the blank) should have taken action. Now isn't the time to point fingers and blame anyone. Blah blah blah..."

Here's the bottom line: GOP knows that Wisconsin's media is so dysfunctional and in their pocket that they can literally put biological waste in your drinking water and, by hook or crook, still control every level of Wisconsin government.

FWIW: Nothing is breaking news if the media chooses to bury it on news dump days and then shove it down the memory hold.

Thanks for highlighting this story that virtually everyone in Wisconsin would have entirely missed, but even a popular and competent blogger/journalist like you cannot overcome the propaganda in the media, but you do more-than your share trying to spread real news.

The rest of Wisconsin's media, lead by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is dedicated to spreading toxic waste across the state, both figuratively with propaganda and now literally.

Anonymous said...

I confess to wishing that someday I will get an invitation to a pool party at the pool of one of these so called family farmers. A quick pound or two of prunes and I'll be good to go.

Anonymous said...

Off topic but important. 14 minutes of lies and disrespect from Stepp.

Anonymous said...

I watched the video. I don't think she would want staff to see this. Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Goddamn Farmers!

IO buy my food at the store!

James Rowen said...

To Anon. 9:40 p.m.

nonquixote said...

Hello James,

I'm viewing more than a few caveats to consider with this story. To me this, "admission," signals an intentional feint by industrial agriculturists to be moving toward a greener future, and a not so very carefully crafted pretence that spraying of toxic untreated raw sewage is somehow going to be a solution to the problem and to get ahead to weaken public opposition to manure spraying permits presently being requested by firms like Pagel's Ponderosa.

Admissions in the article that spraying liquid manure is less expensive goes to clarify that with the industry profit margins all but gone, any further reduction of operating expenses helps conserve any profit margin left to be had, however small right now.

Watch for CAFO filings for bankruptcy unless milk prices reverse their current lows. Any requirements for treating raw liquid manure or limiting application thereof, now mostly unregulated and with the industry policing themselves, will crash the industry despite all the WI tax breaks, expansion grants and free dumping of raw industrial waste onto the public domain. The dumping which places the entire costs of dealing with every drop of this pollution squarely on those of us simultaneously being poisoned by it. The industry will not easily surrender this brown revenue stream.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

This is where I note that the CAFO-supporting Dairy Business Association endorsed Rebecca Bradley for Supreme Court. Vote accordingly, folks

Anonymous said...

Rising gas prices will also impact spreading. They can't afford to haul manure as far by truck when gas goes up.

Anonymous said...

Falling crop prices and falling or stable fertilizer prices (particularly nitrogen prices)also have a considerable negative impact on the value of the manure for increasing yields. In concert with rising fuel and transportation costs the financial incentives to apply properly may decline.