To the Editor: Large dairies not same as family farms, Cygnet woman says
Written by Vickie Askins   
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 09:02
Your July 8th article "Dairies come in all sizes in Wood County" explained there are several small family dairies as well as several larger operations in Wood County - however; I was disappointed the Sentinel tried to balance the industrial operations that confine 2,200 cows with the Morlock family dairy that pastures 100 cows.  This article contained lots of personal opinions and conjecture - but where were the "facts"?
A few years ago the National Association of Local Boards of Health, which is located in BG, published a wonderfully comprehensive guide titled "Understanding Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations [CAFOs] and Their Impact on Communities."  The purpose was to help local boards of health understand their role in mitigating potential problems with CAFOs.
Here are a few "facts" in the NALBOH Report:
• The most pressing public health issue associated with CAFOs is the amount of manure and variety of potential contaminants.  Livestock operations produce up to 20 times more manure in the U.S. than people.
• CAFOs can contaminate groundwater through runoff from land application of manure.
• CAFOs are one of the leading contributors of pollutants to lakes and rivers.
• CAFOs emit greenhouse gases, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon dioxide.
• There are over 150 pathogens in manure that could impact human health; especially at risk are young children and the elderly.
• Summary - CAFOs can cause a myriad of environmental and public health problems.
Two weeks ago, the Sentinel published several articles about toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie caused by excessive nutrients.  In response, Ohio's legislators are targeting row-crop farmers and commercial fertilizer retailers with additional regulations, training and certification.  Although manure runoff is suspected as one of the major sources of phosphorus that feeds algae blooms, officials are giving CAFOs a free pass from additional regulations and are actually recommending that manure plans are proprietary and no longer available as public records.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is supposed to regulate CAFOs but instead, simply allows them to distribute their massive amounts of manure to "others" - then the ODA admits they have no authority over these untrained people; a.k.a. the "manure loophole".
Now that your readers have the "facts", I urge them to contact Senator Randy Gardner and Representative Tim Brown and tell them we need meaningful regulations to keep our families safe and protect our lakes from CAFO pollution.
Vickie Askins

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