In the last 13 years, 13 livestock factories, most
of them dairies, have been built in our area – see map of locations. Large livestock operations that confine animals year-round are called Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South
Central Michigan (ECCSCM) is a 501(c)3 non-profit, organized to educate the public on the health risks and the environmental damage Confined Animal Feeding Operations have brought to our community and its watersheds. We developed this website to provide documentation
on the pollution and to promote Sustainable Alternatives
(buy local food & pasture-based meat--see sources).
We support vanguard, responsible
agriculture, farming that looks ahead to the next generations, preserves
biodiversity, raises animals in a healthy environment, does no harm to
its neighbors, enhances the natural assets of living communities, and
protects our natural resources -- air, soils, groundwater, streams, and
As family farmers and neighbors, we believe
agriculture must take responsibility for its actions in rural communities.
CAFOs have failed us. They have damaged our farming communities,
degraded our natural resources, and polluted our watersheds. When liquid manure enters streams or lakes, it is called a discharge.
Discharges that violate Michigan's water quality standards are illegal.
CAFOs in this area, all of them, have discharged illegally.
Since 2000, there have been 1,103 violations and discharges, many of them
multiple-day violations, confirmed by the Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality in the Hudson area (see violations list).
A 100% failure rate in pollution prevention.
STENCH/EMISSION ALERTS, details, observations, documentation from neighbors on local CAFO air pollution, health concerns
NEWS, 2000-2014, more details and photos of the impact of CAFOs in our area
April - Video: this is what our streams should look like. A clear cold tributary of Bean Creek, with no CAFO impact yet.
New Violations posted: Bakerlads Farm CAFO cited for land application violations of its Permit, including spreading manure on frozen, snow-covered ground in March on a field not included in the CAFO's Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan. The field had not been submitted for approval and public notice, as required, and not assessed using the Manure Application Risk Index, required before any application of CAFO waste to frozen or snow-covered ground. See full details and DEQ letter on Violations list.
ECCSCM Hazen Creek/South Branch River Raisin Monitoring Project begins. Starting in April, ECCSCM will do routine monitoring at six sites northwest of Adrian – 3 sites in Hazen Creek, a major tributary of the South Branch of the River Raisin; 3 sites in the South Branch itself. We'll test for E. coli, Dissolved Oxygen, and using our new TR-7 digital meter, test for Nitrate and Nitrite, Ammonia, as well as the nutrient Phosphate, that feeds harmful algae blooms as it flows downstream and into Lake Erie.
April showers and thaw, with runoff visiblefrom the air... aerial photos taken April 2, 2014
All waters in these photos flow to Lake Erie – Bleich, Medina Milk Source, and 5 other CAFOs are in Bean/Tiffin Watershed which flows to Maumee River;
Terrehaven and 5 other CAFOs are in River Raisin Watershed. See watershed map and CAFO locations.
4-2-14 - runoff, overland flow around Bleich CAFO on US-127; close-up of manure pits
4-2-14 - concern about seepage below the pits at Bleich
4-2-14 - arrays of manure pits, stormwater flowing at Medina Milk Source CAFO, Dillon Hwy
4-2-14 - aerial photo of runoff from back and from the front of Terrehaven CAFO barns in field behind the main facility. This area drains to Wolf Creek.
4-2-14 - aerial photo of runoff from Terrehaven CAFO to the west, and to the east to Pine View Dr residential area.
3-11-14 - Terrehaven manure runoff reaches neighbor's property on Pine View Dr:
March 19 - warmer temperatures at last - but major melt and winter-applied manure runoff have begun. If you see manure runoff in your area of Michigan, please send photos to: email@example.com
Coming Soon - Milk Source - What to Expect? MANY MORE COWS, MUCH MUCH MUCH MORE MANURE
“In our business model, it is essential to grow” - Jim Ostrom, Milk Source (AgWeb, Jan. 8, 2014)
(If Vreba-Hoff’s 6,000 cows/40 million gallons of manure were too much for our headwater streams - 2 streams are still listed as “impaired” because of manure discharges - what will happen with numbers like these?)
Milk Source - Animal totals: 60,300
Tidy View Dairy, Kaukauna, WI – 6,800
Omro Dairy, Omro, WI - 2,700
*Rosendale Dairy, Pickett, WI - 8,400
New Chester Dairy, Grand Marsh, WI - 8,400
Richfield Dairy, under construction - (4,300 to start)
Calf Source, De Pere, WI - 9,000
Heifer Source Feedlot, Liberal, KS - 25,000 *At Rosendale, more than five miles of pipe is being laid to pump manure to distant fields (all numbers from AgWeb article about Milk Source, named "Innovative Dairy Farmers")
• concerns about headwater streams, originating on Milk Source property at both Hudson (US-127) and Medina (Dillon Rd) operations.
• concerns about groundwater - Note: Dec. 2013 Court ruling in a lawsuit against Milk Source brought by Friends of the Central Sands and others concerned about groundwater depletion from high-capacity wells proposed at Richfield Dairy and an incomplete Environmental Assessment of groundwater impact performed by the DNR: the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled that the Environmental Assessment had failed to consider the “potential cumulative effects” of the wells and ordered the DNR to re-assess the impact the dairy’s wells may have on the environment.
NOTE: Milk Source CAFO violations, manure spills in Wisconsin – details from databases of Wisconsin Deparment of Natural Resources, which oversees CAFO enforcement (see full listings in WI Manure Spills 1-1-07 to 11-22-13 and WI Enforcement Tables 2000-2013):
• Tidy View Dairy - Jan 6, 2007 - "Liquid manure was pouring out of broken drain tile line into tributary of Apple Creek - Drain tile was traced back to dairy."
• Tidy View Dairy - Sept 14, 2009 - "Truck hauling manure for Tidy View Dairy lost control & went into south side ditch causing the truck to spill ~6,000 gal of manure..."
• Tidy View Dairy - Sept 15, 2010 - Violation of Permit, unapproved land application sites.
• Tidy View Dairy - Sept 15, 2010 - Notice of Noncompliance, unapproved land application sites.
• Rosendale Dairy - Nov 12, 2008 - Notice of Violation, construction without permit.
• Rosendale Dairy - July 29, 2009 - Notice of Noncompliance, landspreading noncompliance.
• Rosendale Dairy - Nov 13, 2009 - "During manure application, manure line broke, spilling manure into road ditch. Manure line was run through culvert... & broke on east side of the road."
• Also: [unnamed] Milk Source Dairy - Feb, 2004 - FDA Violation - "On February 11 and 25, 2004, an investigator from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted an investigation into two illegal tissue residues in dairy cows sold for slaughter as human food by [redacted]. That investigation included a review of your firm’s involvement with the aforementioned residues. The investigation revealed serious deviations from the regulations for Extralabel Drug Use in Animals, Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations." (FDA letter to James Ostrom, Pres, Milk Source)
Winter 2014 Newsletter
Highlights: 6 Great Lakes states ban CAFO waste on frozen or snow-covered fields. When will Michigan stop it? Do you know where your milk comes from? How to track the source.
Bulletin: International Joint Commission - Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority Final Report released, Feb 27. This final report strengthens the Draft Report recommendation to ban application of manure – and commercial fertilizer – to frozen or snow-covered ground. See p. 9, Recommendation #10:
"The Governments of Ontario, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York should ban the application of manure, biosolids and commercial
fertilizers containing phosphorus from agricultural operations on frozen ground or ground covered by snow for lands that drain to Lake Erie.
ECCSCM supports the prohibition of winter application of manure – in Michigan's CAFO permit (undergoing revision), in the Michigan Agricultural Environment Assurance Program (MAEAP) Standards, and in Michigan's Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices (GAAMPs). In late 2013, 2 important reports from the International Joint Commission and the Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force, multi-national, multi-agency groups studying Lake Erie's excess nutrient/toxic algae crisis, both recommended that winter application of manure be banned in Lake Erie watersheds. One of the highest risk agricultural practices, manure on snow-covered or frozen ground, an impervious surface, has nowhere to go when it rains or melts except off the field and into streams. See the IJC Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority Draft Report and the Ohio Phosphorus Task Force Final Report.
Manure application on snow-covered, frozen fields, winter 2014:
3-2-14 - Bakerlads black manure on snow, west of Morey Hwy, upslope of South Branch of River Raisin.
3-1-14 - Warner manure on snow-covered fields, Pentecost Hwy. (close-up, below)
ECCSCM joins new Michigan initiative: Less = More
LESS support for factory farms means a MORE sustainable Michigan!
Help rein in taxpayer subsidies to factory farms and instead support clean, locally owned and operated livestock farmers. Michigan State conservationist Garry Lee decides how Michigan prioritizes taxpayer dollars that come to the state through the Farm Bill.
This year, Michigan can either choose to fund subsidies for polluting factory farms or instead support clean, locally owned, sustainable farms. Over the coming months Less = More will be hosting events across the state to make help Michigan make the right choice.
WHAT ARE CAFOS? Dairy CAFOs confine 700 or more cows, often several
thousand cows, in long steel barns, year-round. CAFO cows never graze.
CAFOs look like factories, and they are – animal factories.
One cow produces more than 20 times the
waste a human produces.
Waste from 10,000 CAFO cows in this small
area = untreated waste of a city of 200,000 people.
Untreated CAFO waste is liquified with clean groundwater
– instantly polluted – then pumped to cesspits or holding "lagoons"
until it is pumped again and injected or sprayed onto fields around Hudson
(pop. 2500). Some manure makes good fertilizer. But too much manure,
especially the liquid manure from CAFOs, is a major pollutant of soils
and waterways. Animal manure and and animal carcasses contain many pathogens
(disease-causing organisms such as Cryptosporidium, E. coli bacteria,
Listeria – see a comprehensive
list of pathogens and symptoms posted by the Environmental Protection
Agency). These pathogens can threaten human health, other livestock,
aquatic life, and wildlife when introduced into the environment.
We call for a moratorium
on new and expanding CAFOs.
We call for an end to factory farming as a means
of food production.