Daily Archives: January 9, 2006

Smaller farms major culprit in pollution, reports show

Smaller farms major culprit in pollution, reports show
Associated Press
DAYTON, Ohio – Livestock farms in western Ohio’s Darke County have been linked to at least 89 instances of pollution the past two decades, nearly all from farms not large enough to require permits and inspections by the state, according to government records.
The sale of cows, pigs, chickens and other livestock from Darke County yielded $180 million in 2003 – second in Ohio behind neighboring Mercer County.
Only about a dozen of the pollution investigations in Darke County were linked to permitted livestock farms, according to pollution data from the Darke Soil and Water Conservation District, the state Natural Resources and Agriculture departments, and the state Environmental Protection Agency. The remaining 75-plus spills came from farms below the permitting threshold.
In Ohio, farms with at least 2,500 hogs, 700 dairy cattle, or 1,000 beef cattle are required to have those permits.
On Aug. 4, for instance, manure from an operation with 2,000 hogs killed 1,385 fish and other aquatic life in a creek. The farmer was fined $414.
Charles Abdalla, a professor of agricultural and environmental economics at Penn State University, said efforts to reduce farm pollution are likely to fall short if they focus only on the largest livestock farms.
Mid-sized and small farms “just can’t be ignored,” Abdalla said.
Eight months ago, Darke County’s soil agency stopped limiting public access to reports documenting manure spills and fish kills caused by livestock farms – a policy the agency adopted in June 2000. The change came after the agency received a letter from the state natural-resources department warning that the policy did not comply with public-records law.
“Our intent was not necessarily to hide anything,” said Don Lecklider, one of the county agency’s five supervisors and a full-time grain farmer. “We felt we had better communications with the producer (farmer) by not releasing that information.”

Instant expert: Stock tips

Instant expert: Stock tips

By Leslie Lyon
Denver Post Staff Writer

Are you a city slicker who calls all cattle cows? Do you know the difference between a Beefalo and a buffalo? How come we say “Got Milk?” of some breeds and “It’s What’s for Dinner” about others? Post staff writer Leslie Lyon rustles up some tips to help you wrangle stock-show lingo like an old hand.