Erik Jung’s letter on Oct. 2 calls for more regulations on dairy farms. He says we have 200,000 dairy cows producing 24 million pounds of unregulated manure. Well, we have over 7 million people in our state who produce about 2.6 billion pounds of “manure.” But cow manure like human is contained and its use heavily regulated. Current laws mandate “zero discharge” of manure, requiring storage and safe application as organic fertilizer.
“Huge factory farms”? Over 95 percent of our state’s farms are family-owned. Our average dairy herd size is about one half the national average. “Public health issues”? While nitrates are still limited in drinking water, even EPA scientists dispute the 1940s science that linked high nitrates to infant illness. Heart-healthy diets promote vegetables high in nitrates.
Jung wants stronger state regulations but he is misinformed on current regulations which are among strictest in the nation. Adding more will hurt our family farmers and drive many out. Does Mr. Jung want to accelerate the conversion of farmland to urban sprawl? It’s happening fast already. He needs to get out and visit a farm to see what our family farmers are doing to protect our environment.