A community divided. A local official accused of self-dealing. A top political appointee ousted from his job. In Wisconsin, a state where the footprint of agribusiness is growing, the question of how to regulate factory farms is a pressing topic from the town hall to the statehouse. The issue …
A spike in the number of large-scale animal farms and resulting manure production in the Maumee watershed is contributing to algae blooms in Lake Erie, a new report finds. The authors write that over half of the manure contributing to water pollution comes from farms that don't require permits or regulatory oversight.
The method that farmers use to apply manure to their fields can affect emissions of greenhouse gases during the winter, say researchers from the University of Vermont. Their study, published in the Soil Science of America Journal, is one of the first to look at greenhouse gas emissions from Vermont farmland and highlights the consequences of different manure-spreading methods.
A coalition of 55 environmental, agricultural, and food-safety organizations signed a letter urging the Iowa General Assembly pass a moratorium on new and expanded factory farm development in the state. Iowa currently houses nearly 23 million hogs, a record for the state and the highest number in the country.
Four Iowa residents have petitioned the state to better regulate airborne waste from hog farms. Currently, Iowa requires farmers to retain manure until it is applied as fertilizer. But the residents argue that farmers aren’t retaining all the manure — that some is being spread to nearby homes by blowers and air vents.
Decades ago, hog farmers described the pungent aroma of hog manure as the smell of money. Now, the North Carolina state House has passed a bill that could save them money if they are sued for creating a nuisance due to the smell of animal waste, says the Associated Press.
North Carolina is second to Georgia as the largest poultry-producing state in the nation and a new report by state environmental officials says the poultry industry produces more animal waste than they expected, says public broadcaster WFDD-FM in Winston-Salem. Not only is it more than officials expected, the nitrogen and phosphorus runoff tops hogs or cattle. In one river basin, the Yadkin-Pee Dee, it was six times more.
A small company in Costa Mesa, California, says it has found a cost-competitive way to make plastic from methane in cow manure, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The Ohio House and Senate are expected to vote this week on legislation intended to reduce toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie by reducing farm runoff, says the Associated Press.
State Rep Gary Worthan, who represents two of the northwest Iowa counties targeted by the Des Moines Water Works for a lawsuit over nitrate levels in the Raccoon River, said the utility should "reel in their legal beagles...talk with us and find a common solution" said the Des Moines Register.
The International Joint Commission, the U.S.-Canada group that oversees the Great Lakes, will spend the next few months studying the impact of algae blooms in Lake Erie before issuing a new report on the lake in the spring, says the Associated Press.