Posted in Life

Beyond the Numbers

Beyond the 7 Billion people worldwide (Increasing by approx 211,000/day (77 million/year), 50 Million acres of prime U.S. mid-west farmland now growing corn, and 80 percent of it feeding the cattle we eat 10-20% sent out of country, and the remaining used for corn syrup and fuel, our way of life needs help now.

From 1980 to 2011, the number of hog operations in the U.S. dropped from 666,000 to roughly 69,000, yet the number of hogs sold remains almost the same.  About 70% of U.S. beef cattle come from farms with at least 5,000 head of cattle.  10 large companies produce more than 90 percent of the nation’s poultry. Sorry, the numbers can go on and on.

Beyond the numbers, It is extremely critical to know (and really understand)  that the erosion of our land, water, food and air is occurring every second of every day!  As we get up in the morning and open the refrigerator door, purchase our meats in the stores, and go on like it is a never ending source without any notice or care to the future of us, or our children if they are born healthy, unhealthy or at all.

Beyond the instances of occurrences, please take note of the below. Here is what it’s doing and where.  There are many more that what you will see here.

In California officials have identified cows, as the major source of nitratepollution in more than 100,000 square miles of polluted groundwater.  In 1996 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) established a link between spontaneous abortions and high nitrate levels in Indiana drinking water wells located close to feedlots. High levels of nitrates in drinking water also increase the risk of methemoglobinemia, or “blue-baby syndrome,” which can kill infants.

Animal waste contains disease-causing pathogens, such as SalmonellaE. coliCryptosporidium, and fecal coliform, which can be 10 to 100 times more concentrated than in human waste. More than 40 diseases can be transferred to humans through manure.  Manure from dairy cows is thought to have contributed to the disastrous Cryptosporidium contamination of Milwaukee’s drinking water in 1993, which killed more than 100 people, made 400,000 sick.

In this country, roughly 29 million pounds of antibiotics (about 80 percent of the nation’s antibiotics use in total) are added to animal feed every year, mainly to speed livestock growth. This widespread use of antibiotics on animals contributes to the rise of resistant bacteria, making it harder to treat human illnesses.

Large hog farms emit hydrogen sulfide, a gas that most often causes flu-like symptoms in humans, but at high concentrations can lead to brain damage.

Huge open-air waste lagoons, often as big as several football fields, are prone to leaks and spills. In 1995, an 8 acre hog-waste lagoon in North Carolina burst,spilling 25 million gallons of manure into the New River. The spill killed about 10 million fish and closed 364,000 acres of coastal wetlands to shell fishing.  When Hurricane Floyd hit North Carolina in 1999, at least five manure lagoons burst and approximately 47 lagoons were completely flooded.

In 2011, an Illinois hog farm spilled 200,000 gallons of manure into a creek, killing over 110,000 fish. In 2012, a California dairy left over 50 manure covered cow carcasses rotting around its property and polluting nearby waters.

Runoff of chicken and hog waste from factory farms in Maryland and North Carolina is believed to have contributed to outbreaks of Pfiesteria piscicida,killing millions of fish and causing skin irritation, short-term memory loss and other cognitive problems in local people. 

Nutrients in animal waste cause algal blooms, which use up oxygen in the water, contributing to a “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico where there’s not enough oxygen to support aquatic life. The dead zone fluctuates in size each year, extending a record 8,500 square miles during the summer of 2002 and stretching over 7,700 square miles during the summer of 2010.

Ammonia, a toxic form of nitrogen released in gas form during waste disposal, can be carried more than 300 miles through the air before being dumped back onto the ground or into the water, where it causes algal blooms and fish kills.

There is a dire need for national, regional and local awareness of, and serious change now!  Whether you believe or not, or it is not close to home for you, why wait until it affects you or tragedy (I mean tragedy you thought wouldn’t happen to you) happens.  Don’t be blind to what is happening right down the road from you, because it be right in front of you and you don’t even know it. Under where you walk, within the air you breathe, in every cup of water you drink and in the uniform and oh so tailored and pretty packaged food you buy.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

THE NUMBERS ADD UP part III

Part III of do don’t even know how many!  This one is for all of you (well some of you, that believe numbers can be rearranged, distorted, have different definitions to support whatever it is you want to get people to believe.  And you will say, hey here’s some more.

What I hear lately is that 87 and possibly 95% of the Animal Farming Operations (AFO), differentiated by the EPA from the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) which accommodates greater than 1000 animals in a facility or greater than 300 if they pollute directly into a body of water.  Yes, “discharge pollution directly into a body of water“! And the definitions vary by state as they determine what a AFO/CAFO is.  So regardless of the numbers and who determines the construct that quantifies and defines, the toll this type of operation is taking on our environment is staggering (see part IV to come).

Early 2000’s study of farms- Delaware USDA National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)
Type                                             Quantity     % of total            
Commercial farms                   119,702       9%                                                                                          Total agricultural sales (crops and livestock) above $250,000 and farms with less than $250,000 in total agricultural sales if farming or ranching was reported as the principal occupation of the operator and the type of farm organization was other than an individual, family, or partnership.  Commercial farms with confined livestock types   62% of their total             Type                                            Quantity       % of total                                                Intermediate farms                549,486        42%                                                                            Total agricultural sales below $250,000 and the principal occupation of the operator was farming or ranching                                                                                                                                 Most intermediate farms had pastured livestock types and few other livestock – 58% of their total                                                                                                                                                    Type                                            Quantity       % of total
Rural-residence farms           645,702        49%                                                                             total agricultural sales below $250,000 and the principal occupation of the operator was not farming or ranching
Most rural residence farms were either farms with few livestock – 40% of their total
1,314,890 farms in total                                                                                                               Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Designations (of all farms with confined livestock types)
Commercial farms                                                                                                                                     11,398 5% Over 1000 – potential CAFOs of all farms with confined livestock types
16,765 7% Over 750 but under 1000 – potential CAFOs
26,607 11% Over 500 but under 750 – potential CAFOs
44,366 19% Over 300 but under 500 – potential CAFOs
Total: 99,136  and 42%
Nearly all potential CAFOs in all four groups were commercial farms.

Profile of Farms with Few Livestock – Most (71%) of the 361,031
257,333 Farms with few livestock were rural-residence farms
97,468 Intermediate farms
6,230 Commercial farms
361,031
The majority (84%) had total agricultural sales below $10,000.

“Gross livestock sales for farms with few livestock totaled $776 million
less than 1% of livestock (cattle (all types) sales for all farms with livestock”
Total Sales Avg/Sales
361,031 $48,000,000.00 $2,149.00
$8,000.00 95%% of farms livestock sales
$2,450.00 75% of farms livestock sales
$900.00 for 50% of farms livestock sales
$0.00 0% for 34% the farms livestock sales

My point being is that just because the family farms may make up a huge number of the farms, the total of their impact in total numbers do not compare, especially as it concerns the highly volatile byproduct of shit (yes, i may say it once every blog). Sure some of the waste can and is used to spread as fertilizer on land to increase the soils fertility. But when 500 hogs can create more waste than a city of 20,000 and Cattle produce enough to cover the united states each day, and there is no comprehensive requirement to mitigate the destruction it causes to our country, we all should be screaming!!! But out of sight, out of mind. I am attempting to bring this into focus and on the forefront of your mind.

Thank you.

Posted in Uncategorized

THE NUMBERS ADD UP part II

I ran across an article in the Journal Sentinel yesterday titled “One-third of wells in Kewaunee County unsafe for drinking water” where the Wisconsin County has;

  • 15 large-scale dairy farms, known as CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations)
  • 98,000 cattle in the county (64% increase from 1983) The number of cows outnumber the inhabitants
  • 700 or more milking cows per farm.
  • 34% of the 320 randomly tested wells did not meet health standards for nitrates and total coliform, both of which can be found in manure(an increase from the countywide volunteer testing 2004-2015 29% of 620 wells)
  • Cattle waste exceeds that of the total human population of Milwaukee (and is not cleaned by sewage treatment plants)
  • 6 environmental groups petitioned the U.S. EPA to investigate water contamination (farmers opposed the petition)
  • 34% of the 320 randomly tested wells did not meet health standards for nitrates and total coliform, both of which can be found in manure(an increase from the countywide volunteer testing 2004-2015 29% of 620 wells)

BBC Report below …over 60% of the environmental burden of livestock in the US results from beef

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said that certain regions are not adequately protecting the drinking water supplies. Although it has been stated that it is too early to blame the cattle and their manure for these issues.

In a seemingly odd agreement and vote by the Kewanee county voters, they approved a halt to the spreading of manure between Jan 1st to April 15th.  So what happens?  The cattle also stop?  Where does it go?  It is retained in the pools of poop! Drive down I-65 south of Merrillville Indiana on the east side of the road between Crown Point and Rose lawn and you will see the newly constructed retention pond for animal waste (in this case I believe it is for swine).

In a BBC research report from the National Academy of Sciences, the bottom line was like this; “The overall environmental footprint of beef is particularly large because it combines a low production efficiency with very high volume,” said Prof Mark Sutton, from the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.  “The result is that the researchers estimate that over 60% of the environmental burden of livestock in the US results from beef. Although the exact numbers will be different for Europe (expecting a larger role of dairy), the overall message will be similar: Cattle dominate the livestock footprint of both Europe and US.”

As mentioned in my first post, I grew up most of my preteen and teenage years on a 20 acre farm.  In my mid to late teens, a hatchery for baby chicks and a large chicken farm for production of eggs was being built (I was employed during the construction there).  This chicken farm would house over 1 million chickens on the over 10 main egg production farms.  This farm is less than 1 mile from where my mother resides today, and where I was raised.  My mother still has the well from which was and still is today our/her only source of water to drink. She has had it tested on her own at the neighboring county hospital and has told me that there were no irregularities.  She has yet provided me with the test results and the specific harmful water contaminants which were tested.  Over 25 years of a million chickens shit quantified, just can’t be good!

This information is the beginning of a small fraction of the entirety of the CAFO issue.  Consider the Chickens, Swine, and the byproducts processed from these large scale animal production lines (cream unused from milk, cheeses of all kinds, ugh, this is for a later blog)

In terminology of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is an animal feeding operation (AFO) that
1. Confines animals for more than 45 days during a growing season
2. In an area that does not produce vegetation
3. Meets certain size thresholds.
a production process that concentrates large numbers of animals in relatively small and confined places, and that substitutes structures and equipment (for feeding, temperature controls, and manure management) for land and labor.
257,000 AFOs in the United States (Approximately)
15,500 meet the more narrow criteria for CAFOs. The EPA has delineated three categories of CAFOs, ordered in terms of capacity:
1. Large – 1,000 or more cattle
2. Medium – 300–999 cattle
3. Small – 300 or less cattle
The relevant animal unit for each category varies depending on species and capacity.
The table below provides some examples of the size thresholds for CAFOs:
Animal Sector       Cattle or cow/calf pairs     Mature dairy cattle      

Large                        1,000 or more                     700 or more   

Medium                   300–999                               200–699                                       

Small                        less than 300                      less than 200

Chickens*   Lg -125k or more  Med –  37,500–124,999   Sm – less than 37.5k
Laying hens**  Lg -82k or more   Med – 25,000–81,999     less than 25k

* not than laying hens   **other than a liquid manure handling systems

 

 

Posted in Life

The Numbers add up

How long will you continue to be fooled?  How much shit will you continue to consume?  Do you really believe our elected officials truly have our best interest in mind?  Oh, and you (not all of you) don’t want to be inconvenienced by having to pay more, or work at feeling better or sift through the piles of convoluted Googlized results!  Just make it easy to get what I want when I want it.  Billions of people go to the store to get what they need.  What if that all changed? There are concerns of serious decay of, and concern for, our lives as a matter of the food, water, air and land for which all of our lives depend.

Disclaimer (not really, but just in case):  As my blog continues, there will be corrections, changes. But be clear, if you’re going to nit pic on details to overshadow the issue, please know the issue is prevalent and is a gigantic concern, because you may be missing the big picture.

There are 130 times more waste from cows than humans with no waste treatment. Over 15,000,000,000 gallons of methane/day from cows 86 times more damaging than all other greenhouse gases! 1.5 billion Cattle worldwide creating deserts and using our much needed water resource.  Growing the grain and feeding the livestock is water intensive!

Although this extreme use, or better misuse and extreme depletion of the 1% of drinking water on the planet, this is NOT a large concern as many of the “save the water”, “save the planet”, “save the air”… organizations or political/government agencies.  These organizations do not want to offend those that fund or contribute to their organization, so they simply do not make it an issue that needs any attention at all.

Created from Cattle vs. Water

  • 45 billion gallons of water each day to for cows alone (worldwide) (humans 5.2 billion)
  • 261 gallons of water to goes into making 1 gallon of milk
  • 660 gallons of water goes into making 1 hamburger (1/4lb), (0ver 2600 gallons for 1lb)
  • 34 trillion gallons of water every year to raise livestock for consumption
  • 55% of water is used by the raising of livestock (domestic water use is 5%)

Animal feeding operations (AFOs) are farms or feedlots where animals are kept and raised in confined areas for at least 45 days over a 12-month period. AFOs cluster animals, feed, manure and urine, wastewater, dead animals, and production operations on a small land area. Feed is brought to the animals rather than the animals grazing in pastures, fields, or on rangeland. There are approximately 450,000 AFOs in the United States. Common types of AFOs include dairies, cattle feedlots, and poultry farms.

And yet, the extensive clearing of trees and other natural lands continue to occur to grow the animal agriculture with the same results described above.

I was born in 1965 in a small town in rural Indiana.  It was, now that I look back, similar to a mid to late 1800’s homestead.  3 acres, horses, chickens, dogs, and a few geese.  We lived in a two story house with a half circle drive-way and a couple pine trees in the front. Life was pretty normal for a mid to lower income family of 6, where I had two brothers and a sister, she being the oldest and I the youngest.  By the second grade we moved to 20 acres in an even smaller town.

As I look back upon this part of my life as a child of the 70’s mostly, and 80’s in my later teens and twenties, the land, water and air were taken very much for granted.  Processed foods and desserts were now a normal quick meal substitute and treat easily purchased.  Although, still on a tight budget, many meals were still home cooked, and even grown on our land.  We now had cows, pigs and egg bearing chickens, as well as nearly an acre of various garden vegetables and fruits.  Fast forward, looking back on my concerns, they were so much how the above things were made available from a non-farm source (produced, designed and manufactured) and the 60 or 70 years of unregulated chemicals, sweeteners, preservatives and artificial…

I am now married and have two pre-teen boys.  As conscious as my wife and I can be with the money, time constraints, work and school activities, food (healthy food) is an enormous concern.  We are blessed to have two healthy boys and being healthy ourselves.  But, over the last few years, my concerns have grown to be at a level to which I cannot be the bystander, observer and the one that says “that is something I am concerned with also…” yet continue doing nothing.  This endeavor will be challenging, discouraging and hopefully fulfilling and ultimately successful!

I have already begun to reach out to find 4 individuals from hopefully varying points of view, education levels, and like-minded concerns, to form a Think Tank / Research Team, to scour as many resources as we can, to see what we can know for sure, and hopefully find out what we don’t know.  Discuss just what to do with the information we find.  Present it to whomever, and however and determine just what can be done, and what people are willing to continue to accept.  And, most of all, what they are not.

With a world population of over 7 billion; food, land and air consumption as it is currently being taken and not being restored and cared for.  And corporate profits combined with government protection of their profits, many individuals are frightened for their lives, when were seriously and truthfully concerned for our health and life.  There will come a time in a more near future than we expect (for those who even expect or are concerned) when our concern has become a fear, that these latest generations (save a few) have no idea how to overcome.  The goal of our team will ultimately be to see if there is, and what is the best acceptable alternative to our current way of consumption, over use and unsustainable food sources, that directly degrade the land, water and air from which these are acquired.  God has made us the stewards of our earth, our current stewardship is not good.

Below are a few areas for you to consider researching yourself.

Animal Agriculture

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)

Farming Water run off

Animal Waste Treatment

Processed Foods

Deforestation

Fracking