two thousand twenty
Subscribe to Wayne County Life RSS post feed
Subscribe to Wayne County Life RSS comment feed
Subscribe to Wayne County Life by email
Wayne County Life on Facebook

SENECA FALLS (Aug 12 10) – Town of Rose Supervisor Lucinda Collier, the only Wayne County representative on the Farming Task Force, gently stood her ground.

The task force, made up of legislators from 30-some counties, wants to promote “smarter farm policies” and wake up legislators and officials to the realities of what new regulations are doing to farmers – especially those on small family farms.

In its meeting Thursday morning, the task force discussed elements of the report it will issue at the New York State Association of Counties meeting in September. It was NYSAC that convened the task force as a response to growing issues affecting farmers.

One of the task force recommendations was “a moratorium on CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) compliance mandates until adequate state and federal funds can be appropriated to assist farmers with compliance measures.”

Collier parted ways with the task force on that item.

“I’m concerned about protecting municipal and private wells,” Collier told the committee, which met at the huge Empire Farm Days outdoor expo here. She said Rose had a problem “with manure and lagoons, and the farms that produce them are not in our community or even in our county.”

She said a recent heavy rain had washed heavy manure spread over fields into the Sodus Bay watershed. “We want farms to use the manure they need,” she said. “But we’re being blamed as a major contributor of pollution and weed growth in Sodus Bay.

“I have a problem with a moratorium on CAFO mandates,” she said.

Rose is the site of a lagoon that is 22 feet deep and covers six acres, and is filled with a manure slurry from the 3,000-cow John Merrell CAFO in another town. The slurry is trucked across Town of Rose roads to the lagoon, stored there, then trucked back out when it is to be spread.

Hosting that kind of agribusiness is costing Rose taxpayers money to upkeep the roads the heavy trucks use, and the fear is widening that wells might be affected. On top of that, the lagoon was constructed without the town being able to review or comment on the plans…and it was dropped right into a rural residential area the town had carefully constructed as a buffer from intensive farm operations.

Jay Matteson (Jefferson County) said that farms with 200 cows or more using CAFO practices “are facing intense additional regulations that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to comply with.” He said the Department of Environmental Conservation’s uneven administration of the regulations “drives me nuts.”

“A CAFO is the most highly regulated farming operation in the U.S., “ Matteson said. “There needs to be a moratorium on additional regulations so farmers can catch their breath and try to comply with what they already have to comply with.”

Greg Edwards (Chatauqua County) told task force members about a farmer in Texas, NY who was the Environmentalist of the Year one year, and moved out of state the next “because he could not meet the CAFO regulations after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. We have to make sure our farms can survive financially.”

“We have to reconcile environmental responsibility with what farmers receive in their milk checks,” said Pat Brennan (Oneida County).

Task Force Chair Doug Berwanger (Wyoming) added, ”We have a cheap-food economy in this country. Food prices are a bargain. We have an obligation as consumers to help farmers be the best environmental stewards they can be.”

Collier wasn’t swayed. “There’s a big difference between 200 cows and a 3,000-head CAFO,” she said. “That’s the issue I’m dealing with. Smaller CAFOs are not a problem. Do what you want to do, but there are others to consider (in a community), and other farmers.”

The committee decided to temper the recommendation, asking for a moratorium on new mandates only.


You can make a comment, or trackback from your own site.


Post a Comment

Most Viewed - Last 30 days

Going Green

Church Life