In most industries, when you break the laws and violate regulations, you get fined, you can loose your license or even go to jail. Not so for local farmers who actually get rewarded when found to be out of compliance with public health and safety laws. They get free training and help with expensive equipment purchase. Here, the USDA paid for 2/3 of a $300,000 tank.
My take-a-ways from this article do not match Larry’s. When he states that farmers can afford to be just a little bit more transparent in their nutrient management, it confirms for me that compliance issues are and have always been the true reason for farm plan secrecy. What other industry gets to decide how transparent they are with the public regarding matters of importance health and safety issues?
I do not marvel at the wonder of “self milking” cows, who decide for themselves when they will be milked. Normally, this is not an issue for cows because they have hungry calves that they are feeding. This indicates how divorced from nature our industrial farming practices have become.
What is never mentioned is the effort to update and impose Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permits on large dairy farms such as this. The permits were allowed to expire in 2011, so there is no sudden mystery about why bacteria rates starting rising in recent years, despite attempts to blame everything and everyone else, including wildlife that is part of a healthy and functional ecosystem. When Larry shudders at the thought of the potential for regulations, he knows damn well that DOE is holding hearings across the state regarding its updated CAFO requirements. So if he really wants to be transparent, as claimed, this article could start by advising the public of an upcoming hearing in Bellingham on the revised permits that is scheduled for July 26th.
Here’s the link to the hearing announcement: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publiccalendar/
From the Department of Ecology Public Involvement Calendar webpage:
Jul 26 2016 6:00PM Public Workshop Followed by Public Hearing – Bellingham
————————- Draft Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Permit
We are updating this permit because it expired in 2011. The permit addresses manure management at facilities that confine large numbers of livestock, poultry or other animals in order to protect water quality.
More Information: More Information
Location: Whatcom Community College
237 W Kellog Rd
Bellingham , WA
Contact: Jon Jennings
(360) 407-6283 / JOJE461@ecy.wa.gov