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Nov Update: November: another possible buyer for the ex-Vreba-Hoff facilities has appeared on the scene, with a purchase option in place. There is no indication on the part of the buyer of any willingness to monitor the impaired streams that originate on the CAFO properties. Consequently, ECCSCM is gearing up for water testing at several sites before animals fill the barns. We'll do baseline testing and follow up as soon as manure application begins. These facilities have the problem of being the ONLY source of contaminants in two of the impaired streams, at several locations. There's no upstream. Medina Drain and Durfee Creek, 2 of the impaired streams, originate on the Dillon Rd property. In addition, Lime Creek (the stretch called Lime Lake Inlet), is also impaired and drains major fields at the US-127 facility and flows directly into Lime Lake. More details on the monitoring projects will be posted soon.

Nov 12 - foul water discharging from Bakerlads manure field after rains last night. This water flows to the South Branch of the River Raisin – and on to Lake Erie. Contaminants and excess nutrients in agricultural runoff have been the major contributor to Lake Erie's toxic algae blooms and dead zone. See Nov 7-8 Stench Alerts for Bakerlads stockpiling details.

Fall 2012 ECCSCM Newsletter
NW Adrian area – new ag concerns for neighbors, water quality. One CAFO and several large livestock operations lie upstream from Lake Adrian, the City of Adrian's drinking water supply... Also, in July, Sale of 3 Vreba-Hoff facilities to Wisconsin buyers falls through!...and USDA study in Bean Creek Watershed shows risks of corn silage for water quality.

July 5 - SMD said in May, there was "no excuse" for draglines in waterbodies. But once again, SMD manure contractors have placed a dragline in the culvert of a waterbody, Covell Drain where it crosses Canandaigua Rd. Hoffland Farms manure spill at the lagoon, at tile riser leading to Rice Lake Drain.
covell hoffland1 hofflan2
Covell Drain culvert (left) with SMD dragline, 7-5-12; manure spill (right) at Hoffland Farms lagoon, pooling at tile riser leading to Rice Lake Drain.

May 12 - SMD cited for 2 discharges of liquid manure to surface waters. See Violations page for details.

May 3 - SMD dragline has been moved from Bean and its tributary on Medina Rd around the corner to the same tributary on Acker Hwy, where it's in the water, a fold in the line. Draglining application is along Munson Hwy. Along the way, the line is not only in the tributary but also on the Acker roadway itself and in the stormwater culvert at the US-127 facility.
Ackerwestside foldAcker
5-3-12 - Dragline in water of tributary to Bean Creek, Acker Hwy (west side culvert; east side with fold)

roadAcker storm
5-3-12 - SMD's dragline on the road surface of Acker Hwy (left); and in the water at the stormwater culvert, US-127 (right)

May 1 - 7:00pm - SMD dragline breaks! Liquid manure flows down ditch.

break fix
5-1-12 - break in dragline along Donnelly Rd and "fix" that wasn't, with straps. See black water (below).

May 1, 2012 - SMD is draglining again, the dragline placed across Bean Creek. The manure-inflated dragline is lying in the water of a tributary of Bean Creek, see photo below, and somewhere out of sight, also crossing Bean Creek itself, a natural stream, with the Michigan Nature Association Powell Sanctuary just 1 1/2 mi. downstream. In 12 years here, we have NEVER seen draglines in streams. DEQ says this is not their "jurisdiction." Think of the risks – to fish, freshwater mussels (several threatened species), drinking water sources downstream. How can this be legal? Could you stretch a pipe with septic waste across a stream, even temporarily? Given the extreme risk, should this be an "acceptable" agricultural practice?
kink other drag
5-1-12 - At the tributary culvert, the drag line hose has a kink (left). Some liquid must be getting through or the hose would blow up; on the other side of the culvert (middle) the line is fully inflated, lying in the water, and pumping on towards Bean Creek. (On right) applicator pumps liquid manure on the field through those tentacles.

weekend of April 28-29, Southern Michigan Dairies is draglining along Ridgeville Rd, with black water flowing through County Drains to Toad Creek. DEQ has not responded. See details, photos of manure-filled draglines along US-127, across several fields.
4-29-12 - scum on Toad Creek/Blanchard Joint County Drain, downstream from SMD draglining.

3 Hudson-area CAFOs - SHUT DOWN!
All cows are gone. Front gates are padlocked. The three former Vreba-Hoff dairies - taken over last fall by Rabo Agri-finance Bank and its subsidiary Southern Michigan Dairies - are completely shut down.
Out back, out of sight, millions of gallons of liquid manure...
Spring manure spraying in gear once again - neighbors suffer...
Michigan ag contributes $71.3 billion to economy? - NONSENSE!
You hear the number - $71.3 billion! - touted by Farm Bureau over and over, you hear it at every ag meeting, in press releases, picked up by politicians in bombast about Michigan agriculture.
A gigantic number! And, as it turns out, an imaginary number.
The real number? $2.73 billion. Still a fine number. Just 30X smaller.
Bless Bridge Magazine for some serious scrutiny and honest analysis of federal GDP data, showing...

January - Southern Michigan Dairies is fined $24,500 for violating its deadline for closure of the failed concrete manure lagoon at SMD 1. The lagoon was properly closed on Dec 27, 2011, 56 days past the deadline. The fine must be paid within 30 days of receipt of the DEQ Letter sent to Mark Fischels, Pres., Southern Michigan Dairies, Rabo Agrifinance, Ames, Iowa, on Jan 5, 2012.

Jan 5 - DEQ announces Public Hearing for Southern Michigan Dairies CAFO permits for Feb 1 in Hudson. See links below to the DEQ draft permits and SMD applications. Also see article with general information and details on the permits in our Winter Newsletter.

Please attend this hearing and comment. Let DEQ know your concerns. Or email your comments to Mike Bitondo, DEQ:

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Hudson Middle/High School Cafeteria
771 North Maple Grove Avenue
Hudson, Michigan 49247

SMD 1 draft permit and application form.
SMD 2 draft permit and application form.

Jan 3 - Bakerlads CAFO field sprayed black with liquid manure, immediately upslope from the South Branch of the River Raisin (banks visible lower right). Thaw is predicted for later this week.
1-3-12 – Black manure field sloping to South Branch River Raisin, east of Morey Hwy between Beecher and Cadmus Rds.