Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 23, 2017

Putting manure spill in perspective

By Mike Ledger | Feb 13, 2014

To the editor:

In reference to “Regulator among farmers to spill manure in 2013,” (The Fairfield Ledger, Feb. 4) it’s important to note that the DNR database shows a minimum of 9,750 animal feeding operations in Iowa.

The article cites a 65 percent increase in manure spills, but the number of spills represents less than 1 percent of Iowa farms when compared to the number of animal feeding operations. With only 10 of these 76 cases having a direct water quality impact, this number drops to nearly one in 1,000 farms. While the intention is to never have a spill, this is a very small accident rate that speaks well to the attention Iowa farmers pay to responsibly managing livestock manure.

One spill is too many, but accidents happen. In the case referenced in the article, the manure was not discharged to a body of water and was properly contained and cleaned. Manure applicators are trained on how to properly handle a spill through their state-required applicator training program.

Iowa law prohibits farmers from discharging any manure into a body of water. To require farmers to obtain a federal permit to do something that is already illegal, as some are requesting, makes absolutely no regulatory sense and would be a waste of state and farmer resources that could be better spent on improvements through the Iowa Water Quality Initiative. If these permits were to be required of farmers, it would prompt the question: Can I get a permit to speed on the interstate?


– Mike Ledger, Fairfield


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