Environmental Prize Winner Lynn Henning to Wisconsin DNR: Manure Spray is Not the Way



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Environmental Prize Winner Lynn Henning to the Wisconsin DNR: Manure Spraying is Not the Way

Public health risks, waterway pollution linked to controversial animal waste discharge system currently under consideration in Wisconsin

Goldman Environmental Prize Winner tests water downstream from an industrial dairy operation.

Goldman Environmental Prize Winner tests water downstream from an industrial dairy operation.

MADISON, WI  Internationally recognized Goldman Environmental Prize winner Lynn Henning, a Michigan family farmer and field coordinator for the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP), addressed Wisconsin’s Manure Irrigation Work Group at their April 4th public meeting on the proposed statewide adoption of liquid manure spraying at large-scale CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations). With 14 years experience dealing with liquid waste practices, Henning provided testimony and photographic evidence to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) group detailing the unsustainable, hazardous effects of the controversial liquid waste spray system  on farming communities and regional waterways.

Wisconsin officials are currently gathering information on the method that would disburse massive amounts of untreated animal waste generated by the more than 250 largely unregulated and unmonitored CAFO facilities throughout the state. The controversial liquid manure spray system is a corner-cutting, cost-savings process that rids industrial-scale livestock operations of untreated waste by spraying it, untested for pathogens and pharmaceuticals, into the soil and skies of local communities. Beyond the immediate contamination of the environment — and the respiratory systems of local residents — these potentially diseased and hazardous materials often enter and pollute regional waterways as industrial run-off or large-scale contamination spills resulting in fish kills and possible polluted drinking water supplies.

“If Wisconsin is serious about understanding the facts about liquid manure spraying, I gave them every reason to immediately abandon consideration of this method,” said SRAP’s Henning. “The act of spraying contaminated animal waste into the local environment has absolutely no redeeming value for anybody, but the factory farm owners. It’s time for state officials to step up to the plate and put our public and ecological health before private profit. 

The results of the work group’s findings are considered to be of additional impact in the face of recent revelations that the state is involved in discussions with agribusiness giants about the large-scale siting of new industrial hog CAFOs in Wisconsin farming communities.

Where would the sheer tonnage of waste from these new hog operations go?,  asked Henning. Into the water, air, lands and lungs of Wisconsin. There’s not a doubt that the DNR is courting a statewide disaster. 

Henning and SRAP Wisconsin coordinator Scott Dye also toured CAFO-impacted Wisconsin communities, speaking with residents and documenting, photographing and reporting potential violations to the DNR and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in some locations. During the whistle-stop-tour, the SRAP team participated in community meetings in Fond du Lac, Crawford, Wood, Juneau and Kewaunee counties, and conducted water-monitoring trainings to provide at-risk citizens with the information and tools needed to monitor, test and report CAFO waste discharges.

If the Wisconsin DNR isn’t going to help residents watchdog and protect themselves from polluting animal waste and the poisoning of Wisconsin, then SRAP will,  said SRAP CEO, Kendra Kimbirauskas.



About Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP)

Socially Responsible Agricultural Project provides free, professional assistance to communities working to protect themselves from factory farms and their impact on local communities and populations, and to those who are trying to reclaim agriculture by producing and marketing sustainable agricultural goods. More information can be found at www.sraproject.org.