Factory farms get even grosser
Residents of some farming communities are being forced to put up with serious airborne bullshit.
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reports on the growth of the revolting practice of using water irrigation systems to squirt manure over farmland.
So far, 14 of Wisconsin’s 258 dairy factory farms, known as concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, are using the practice, which involves spraying fine mists of dung out of commercial sprinklers. Nearly all of North Carolina’s hog farms do likewise. The practice is also used in Iowa, Michigan, and other Midwestern farming states. From the Wisconsin Watch report:
Applying liquid manure to fields using pipelines and farm irrigation systems is less expensive than trucking manure and applying it with traditional land-spreading rigs. …
The issue is tied inextricably to the controversial spread of CAFOs across the Wisconsin landscape. The farms produce overwhelming amounts of manure and have angered and frustrated nearby residents who feel they have little control over the growth and operations of the industrial farms. Cattle on Wisconsin farms produce as much waste each year as the combined populations of Tokyo and Mexico City, according to calculations by Gordon Stevenson, a retired former chief of the [Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s] runoff management section. …
Spraying manure doesn’t just sound gross. It poses real human health risks:
Some research suggests that the plethora of chemicals and pathogens found in liquid manure can have serious health impacts, ranging from respiratory disease to potentially lethal antibiotic resistant infections. Opponents fear wider use of manure irrigation will increase the risk of human illness …
[C]ritics and even some proponents of manure irrigation say the practice can threaten water supplies.
Backers defend the spraying by saying it helps farms more precisely place their manure on their land. But try selling that crap to Wisconsinite Scott Murray, who sold his home several years ago after he and his family could no longer stand the manure mist drifting over from a neighboring CAFO. “It even got into the walls of our home,” Murray said. “It hurt so bad even to breathe.”
Manure spraying under scrutiny, Wisconsin Watch.