An ongoing lawsuit is challenging a 2013 regulation change that would increase the size of dairies allowed to operate without a nutrient management plan from 199 to 299 cows. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Salon, The Washington Post, The Nation, Mother Jones, Grist, and other publications. groundwater pollution due to farming (both in general and more specifically to dairying) is however largely unquantified; • air (see sub-section 5.3.6): the impact of dairying on the atmosphere arises from de-nitrification, the The dairy industry’s share of total US greenhouse gas emissions, from farm to consumer, including waste. The report predicts that by 2020, another 99,600ha of Canterbury land will be converted to dairy farming, and that nationally up to 370,300ha will be turned into dairy farming land. For most mammals, life starts with milk. • U.S. farm consolidation is nothing new, but recent changes in the dairy industry are transforming the business in ways that are increasingly worrisome to regulators, residents, and environmental groups. The steady rise of large-scale dairy operations, he said, has been “fueled by cheap fuel and cheap feed,” adding, “More is not always better.”, Elizabeth Grossman is the author of Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health, and the Promise of Green Chemistry, High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health, and other books. In Canton, Minnesota, a wall on an above-ground manure storage tank broke last April, spilling roughly 1 million gallons of manure. Burr Oak Heifers is seeking a Wisconsin DNR permit to house 3,100 cows, which are expected to produce an estimated 3.32 million gallons of liquid manure and 45,900 tons of solid manure annually. In Wisconsin, several dairy operations are now facing opposition to plans to expand their herds. Average per-person dairy consumption in the US in 2017—about 14% more than 20 years ago. Neighbors of Kinnard Farms dairy, located in the Kewaunee County town of Lincoln — an area of karst soils — are now in court challenging the state’s approval of a permit that would allow the dairy to expand its herd from 4,000 to more than 6,000 milking cows. Unpublished figures obtained by the Bureau show there were 424 serious pollution incidents linked to dairy, poultry and pig farms between 2010 and 2016, part of a wider pattern of farm-related pollution that saw more than 3,700 incidents over the same period. William Matthews, Oregon Department of Agriculture CAFO program manager, concurs. In Wisconsin, explains DNR hydrogeologist Bill Phelps, about 10 percent of all private wells exceed the state’s nitrate water quality standard. The plaintiffs contend that the way the manure is being applied is the equivalent of dumping solid waste, an activity covered by RCRA that has not previously been applied to manure spreading. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Porous karst soils in the parts of Wisconsin where a significant portion of dairy expansion is occurring present some unique environmental issues. The production of meat and dairy is set to pass the oil industry as the world’s leading polluter. Jon Bansen, a third-generation dairy farmer who produces milk for the Organic Valley co-op, said that the ratio of cows to pasture on smaller farms leads to a sustainable nitrogen balance. Some recent cases include: In one of the larger cases of manure pollution in recent years, an estimated 15 million gallons of manure, water, and other matter spilled in 2010 into a slough that drains into the Snohomish River in Washington state, when a berm on a dairy farm’s manure lagoon failed. Lack of measures to prevent catastrophic manure spills is among the reasons Environmental Advocates of New York policy director Katherine Nadeau gives for her organization’s opposition to this regulation change. Today milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and other dairy products are ubiquitous, consumed by more than 6 billion people worldwide. “There are stellar operators of all sizes,” he says. By Elizabeth Grossman Wheeler notes that dairies have typically spread manure on their own fields to fertilize forage and other crops or contracted with other farms to do so. While the FAO used a life cycle assessment of animal agriculture (i.e. Fitzgerald’s organization stresses the need for nutrient and water quality management plans tailored for each operation, and says dairy is “one of the most regulated and inspected industries in agriculture.” She also touts the industry’s voluntary commitment to “best practices” and improving its environmental footprint, including its 2008 commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent. But as dairy herds have grown, a single farm often has more manure than it can use at any one time. As I arrived cows munched clover in the barnyard, near the Bansens’ front door. In areas of high agricultural activity where fertilizer use is high, this percentage rises to about 30 percent, said Phelps. May 27, 2014. Dairy production has a considerable effect on climate change due to emissions of greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide. Choosing to eat meat and dairy products from animals that are raised on pasture-based farms is a good start. Roughly a third of those spills came from large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs. Green Hydrogen: Could It Be Key to a Carbon-Free Economy? Almost half came from beef and dairy cattle, while just over a fifth came from pig and poultry farms. Number of dairy cows in the world (9.3 million are in the US). But as demand for dairy grows, so does its impact. DAVID SILVERMAN/GETTY IMAGES, As Dairy Farms Grow Bigger, New Concerns About Pollution, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 15 million gallons of manure, water, and other matter, per-cow milk production has almost doubled, Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health, and the Promise of Green Chemistry, High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health, As South Africa Clings to Coal, A Struggle for the Right to Breathe, Equitable Retreat: The Need for Fairness in Relocating Coastal Communities, At Sea and in Court, the Fight to Save Right Whales Intensifies, Learning How to Talk: What Climate Activists Must Do in the Biden Era. According to an analysis by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in 2013 a record number of manure spills — more than 1 million gallons worth — were recorded in Wisconsin. The dairies filed a motion this month to dismiss the charges. “When it comes to the environmental impacts of concentrated dairy operations, it all comes down to manure management,” says Kendra Kimbirauskas, board director of Friends of Family Farmers. As Dairy Farms Grow Bigger, New Concerns About Pollution Dairy operations in the U.S. are consolidating, with ever-larger numbers of cows concentrated on single farms. Cow manure is a natural and excellent source as a fertilizer, but researchers have also estimated that one cow can emit between 100 to 200 liters of methane per day. World Wildlife Fund Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization (tax ID number 52-1693387) under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Based on one tonne of coal producing 2.86 tonnes of carbon dioxide, Fonterra's factories pump out 1.17 million tonnes of the climate warming gas, making it … Asia Nov 16th 2017 edition. “Wisconsin,” says Clean Wisconsin staff attorney Elizabeth Wheeler, “has a nitrate problem.”. In excess, manure’s nutrients — largely nitrogen and phosphorus — can create problems. In Yakima, Washington, the Community Association for Restoration of the Environment and the Center for Food Safety allege in an ongoing lawsuit now in federal court that manure spreading by five large dairies has caused nitrate and other contamination of groundwater and violates the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). View our inclusive approach to conservation. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) predicted that 18% of anthropogenic greenhouse gases come directly or indirectly from the world’s livestock.