Sunday, August 4, 2019

Breathe deeply, think twice, Bucky, before welcoming Iowa hog CAFOs

[Updated 12:15, Aug. 5] Save and re-read this posting the next time you see one of those 'add bacon to everything' TV spots.

Though one plan for a 26,000 hog-feeding operation 

in N. WI has been withdrawn, another - - and 26,000 hogs seems to be Iowa operators' magic number for out-sourced Wisconsin pork-raising factories - - is afoot. 

And there's fresh reporting that puts it into focus:

* So read this:
Proposed hog farm stirs up debate in northern Wisconsin
  • An Iowa outfit is planning to build a $20 million large-scale farm for more than 26,000 hogs in northern Wisconsin
  • The concentrated animal feeding operation would be located in the town of Trade Lake, Wis., in Burnett County near a state wildlife area and tributary of the St. Croix River.
* And then this::
Tainted Pork, Ill Consumers and an Investigation Thwarted
* Oh, I forget to mention this, for added flavor:
The price of pork: Cheap meat comes at a high price for Illinois 
Across Illinois, the nation's fourth-largest seller of pigs, large hog confinements have exploded in number and size. Raising pigs for slaughter in an efficient, factory-like setting, the operations help hold down the price of the most widely consumed meat in the world...
Pig waste flowing into rural waterways from leaks and spills destroyed more than 490,000 fish in 67 miles of rivers over a 10-year span. 
No other industry came close to causing that amount of damage, the Tribune found. Many operators faced only minor consequences; some multimillion-dollar confinements paid small penalties while polluting repeatedly. 

* Climate change produces strong storms. Remember that a strong storm cab carry feedlot manure long distances. 

* World swine epidemic is definitely coming to the US, expert says.

*  And how much manure do 26,000 hogs produce? Granted cows make more, but still, it's a big number:

9,000,000 gallons.
I found the answer in a story about how the Iowa-based hog farm operator intends to dispose of the manure from his operation which does not drip and drain away from the site, or gets flushed into the watershed by Mother Nature in an era of harsher rains predicted in a warming climate.
Ironically, and/or pathetically, and/or depressingly, the story with the manure calculation was all about the hog operator having claimed he had some agreements from nearby farmers to accept his manure for crop fertilization who said they had made no such manure-spreading commitments.
So while I was contemplating that manure spreading debate, and in light of all the b.s. spread by the Walker administration as it rigged and weakened rule-making which was supposed to control in the public interest manure dispersal from the state's mega-feedlots, I wondered:
How big is 9,000,000 gallons of manure?
I can visualize a gallon or water or milk or lemonade - - and those comparisons don't carry the question's toxicity implications and disgust factor- - but 9,000,000 of anything is hard to wrap your head around.
But you work with what you can find, and the good folks at the US Geological Survey offered these descriptions of a million gallons of water, so just multiply by nine, add in your basic CAFO-generated stench, known contamination, potential for sickness and documented economic damage done to neighboring properties…decide whether you think it's the right way to hold on to a good chunk of Wisconsin's north woods pure water, clean air and pristine environment:

If you were a swimming-pool builder and a customer asked you to build a pool that would hold a million-gallons, then they had better have a big yard! You would need to build a pool about 267 feet long (almost as long as a football field), 50 feet wide, and 10 feet deep….1 million gallons would form a cube that is 51.1 feet on each side.


Anonymous said...

A lot a pigs. A lot a smelly pig manure. Do you think DNR will require a full Environmental Impact Statement including Air, Surface and Ground water? Don't hold your breathe. Or, rather do.

James Rowen said...

I think the DNR will hold a full EIS on the project, as I believe it did on the earlier, 26,000-hog farm pig CAFO application which was withdrawn by the applicant because it would not provide the DNR with information it wanted. And this wass during Walker's reign.