Buffalo River 
Watershed
Alliance

News


  • 06 Aug 2013 6:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Lawsuit filed over loans for hog farm
    Arkansas News Bureau

    LITTLE ROCK  A coalition of environmental activist groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday against two federal agencies over their issuance of about $3.3 million in loan guarantees to C&H Hog Farms, which operates on a tributary of the Buffalo National River in Searcy County.

    The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Little Rock, argues that the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration failed to conduct a proper environmental impact study of the area surrounding the farm, which has about 6,500 hogs.

    The lawsuit asks the court to declare the existing environmental assessment unlawful, and that the loans to the farm owners be enjoined and new environmental assessments be conducted with the involvement from the National Park Service.

    The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality in 2012 issued an operational permit to the farm.

    “Local residents will suffer the most from this absurdly located factory farm,” Debbie Doss of the Arkansas Canoe Club in a news release. “Residents of Mount Judea will be exposed, downwind, to smell and adverse health effects of methane and hydrogen sulfide.”

    Emily Jones with National Parks Conservation Association said the environmental groups tried to avoid taking the issue to court.

    “FSA and SBA failed to provide the public notice and undertake the environmental review and consultations required by law, so we’re asking to set aside the loan guarantees and instruct the agencies to comply,” she said.

    The other environmental activist groups involved in filing the lawsuit were the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, The Ozark Society and Earthjustice.

    Jason Henson, president of C&H Hog Farms, did not immediately respond to a telephone call seeking comment Tuesday.
  • 06 Aug 2013 1:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Arkansas Times
    Lawsuit filed to stop hog feeding operation in Buffalo River watershed
    Posted by Max Brantley on Tue, Aug 6, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    TARGETED BY LAWSUIT: The C&H Hog Farms feeding operation.
    A coalition of groups filed suit in federal court in Little Rock today to set aside $3.4 million in loan guarantees by the federal Farm Service Agency and Small Business Administration to C&H Hog Farms, a 6,500-pig feeding operation on a major tributary of the Buffalo National River near Mount Judea.
    The lawsuit said the agencies had not issued the proper public notice and undertaken environmental assessments required by law. From a release:

    “FSA and SBA failed to provide the public notice and undertake the environmental review and consultations required by law, so we’re asking the court to set aside the loan guarantees and instruct the agencies to comply,” said Emily Jones of the National Parks Conservation Association. “We have asked FSA and SBA to do the right thing without litigation, but they have not, and today we find ourselves in court to protect the Buffalo River, a national treasure of immeasurable worth.”

    The SBA did no environmental assessment. The Farm Service Agency review was deeply flawed, the lawsuit says. Particularly, it ignored the impact of the smell from manure on a nearby school and the potential for problems from manure draining through the porous karst geology of the area.

    The National Park Service, which operates the popular national river, wasn't notified of the farm until after it had been approved. It found 45 problems with the "woefully inadequate" environmental assessment.

    “The rubber-stamping of the requested loan guarantees, the inadequate review of the environmental consequences, and the failure to notify the local community and to consult with sister agencies as required, makes a mockery of the law and puts a national treasure in harm’s way,” said Hannah Chang, attorney with the public interest law firm Earthjustice.

    A local family is operating the farm under contract with Cargill, the food industry giant. The family has insisted it will be good stewards and values the region, too. The farm also got a permit from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. It is not a defendant in the suit, supported by the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, the National Parks Conservation Association, The Ozark Society, the Arkansas Canoe Club and Earthjustice.

    Judge Price Marshall drew the case. A legal foonote: Marshall once clerked for federal Judge Richard Arnold, who, as a private lawyer, won landmark federal court rulings that required substantive reviews of federal agency decisions under the National Environmental Policy Act. Arnold participated in efforts to stop damming of the Cossatot and Cache Rivers. A violation of NEPA is among the things alleged in this lawsuit.

    Groups Go To Court to Protect Buffalo National River from Factory Hog Farm Waste
    Lawsuit challenges federal loan guarantees for industrial swine facility in the Buffalo National River watershed

    Little Rock, Arkansas undefined A coalition of conservation and citizen groups filed suit today challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for their inadequate review and improper authorization of loan guarantee assistance to C&H Hog Farms, a 6,500-pig factory farm located on a major tributary of the Buffalo National River, a national park site and the country’s first national river. The groups set forth their concerns in a letter to the federal agencies dated June 6, 2013, and are bringing suit only after the agencies have made clear that they are not remedying their violations of the law. The suit was filed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division.

    “FSA and SBA failed to provide the public notice and undertake the environmental review and consultations required by law, so we’re asking the court to set aside the loan guarantees and instruct the agencies to comply,” said Emily Jones of the National Parks Conservation Association. “We have asked FSA and SBA to do the right thing without litigation, but they have not, and today we find ourselves in court to protect the Buffalo River, a national treasure of immeasurable worth.”

    The Buffalo River travels through the heart of the Ozark Mountains in northwestern Arkansas, and runs beneath magnificent cliffs which at times extend nearly 700 feet above the river's clear, quiet pools and rushing rapids. One hundred thirty-five miles of the Buffalo comprise the national river, which attracts more than one million visitors each year who float the crystal waters, camp on the gravel bars, and hike the trails undefined generating $38 million toward the local economy.

    “The Buffalo is an astonishingly beautiful natural resource, Arkansas’ crown jewel,” said Jack Stewart of the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance. “Siting an industrial hog facility so close to the river threatens to desecrate this national treasure, known to so many for its peaceful meanderings and the scent of wild azaleas in bloom.”

    The C&H facility is located on the banks of Big Creek, a tributary of the Buffalo River, in Mount Judea, Arkansas. Under a contract with Cargill, Inc., an international agricultural and food conglomerate, C&H will confine 6,500 pigs at a time making the operation the first of its size and scale in the Buffalo River watershed. The pigs will produce more than two million gallons of manure, wastewater and litter each year, which will be collected in open-air storage ponds on site and spread onto approximately 630 acres of land surrounding the farm and adjacent to the banks of Big Creek. These manure application fields are less than six miles upstream from Big Creek’s confluence with the Buffalo National River, and several are located directly adjacent to Mount Judea School.

    “Local residents will suffer the most from this absurdly located factory farm,” said Debbie Doss of the Arkansas Canoe Club. “Residents of Mount Judea will be exposed, downwind, to the smell and adverse health effects of methane and hydrogen sulfide. A swine facility this large will put children at the Mount Judea School at high risk of health impacts including asthma and other respiratory conditions.”

    The C&H facility received more than $3.4 million in loan guarantee assistance from the federal government. FSA approved a loan guarantee for 90 percent of a $1,302,000 loan to C&H. SBA approved a loan guarantee for a $2,318,136 loan.

    In providing this federal assistance, SBA undertook no environmental review whatsoever, while FSA prepared a deeply flawed and insufficient environmental assessment that fails to comply with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Among multiple errors and omissions, FSA’s environmental assessment incorrectly defines the acreage of the C&H facility, does not take into account nearby sensitive areas such as the Mount Judea School, and ignores the consequences of manure draining through the porous karst geology of the Buffalo River region.

    “In the 60’s and 70’s the Ozark Society worked with Congress to have the Buffalo protected for posterity as the nation’s first national river,” said Robert Cross of the Ozark Society. “We have countered threats to the river before, but now face the biggest threat to date. Despite the assurances of C&H that they have the highest level of technology to prevent accidents, the siting of this facility in karst terrain and directly adjacent to a tributary of the Buffalo River will not require an accident to cause tremendous damage to the river and the surrounding environment. SBA and FSA should have, but did not, consider these factors in its review of the proposed project.”

    In addition, the notice of FSA’s environmental assessment was never published in a local newspaper in Mount Judea. FSA also failed to inform the National Park Service Superintendent of the Buffalo National River of the environmental review as required, and the superintendent did not find out about the environmental assessment and guarantee assistance until well after it had been approved for the C&H operation. In a letter to FSA, the Park Service identified 45 problems with FSA’s environmental assessment and stated that it was “so woefully inadequate that it should immediately be rescinded.”

    “The rubber-stamping of the requested loan guarantees, the inadequate review of the environmental consequences, and the failure to notify the local community and to consult with sister agencies as required, makes a mockery of the law and puts a national treasure in harm’s way,” said Hannah Chang, attorney with the public interest law firm Earthjustice. “It should never have come to this point, and we are in court to make sure it is put right and doesn’t happen again.”

    Earthjustice, Earthrise Law Center, and local attorney Hank Bates are representing the Arkansas Canoe Club, Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, National Parks Conservation Association, and The Ozark Society in filing this complaint against the USDA and SBA.

    The court filing can be found at the following link:

    http://earthjustice.org/documents/legal-document/pdf/buffalo-river-complaint

    For additional documents related to the Mount Judea CAFO, visit: http://buffaloriveralliance.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1558368
  • 06 Aug 2013 1:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    NWAOnline
    Lawsuit filed over C&H Hog Farms loans
    By Ryan McGeeney
    Posted: August 6, 2013 at 1:41 p.m.
    Print item
    E-mail

    A coalition of four environmental activism groups filed suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court against both the Farm Service Agency and the Small Business Administration for the issuance of loan guarantees for the construction of C&H Hog Farms, the large-scale concentrated animal feeding operation in Mount Judea.

    The complaint, filed by Earthjustice in the Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division, generally alleges the agencies did not conduct proper environmental assessments of the area surrounding the farm, which abuts Big Creek, a major tributary of the Buffalo National River.

    The suit seeks several remedial actions, including a declaration from the court that the existing environmental assessment and its findings are unlawful, that about $3.3 million in loan guarantees to the farm owners be enjoined, and that new environmental assessments be conducted with the involvement of the National Park Service.

    C&H Hog Farms, which is permitted to house about 2,500 full-grown sows and as many as 4,000 piglets at a time, is the first and only such facility in Arkansas to receive a general water discharge permit through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. The owners of the farm have land use agreements that provide about 630 acres of grasslands upon which to spread the nitrogen- and phosphorous-rich manure produced by the hogs.
  • 06 Aug 2013 12:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PRESS RELEASE
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Date: August 6, 2013
    Contact: • Jack Stewart, Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, (870) 715-0260, jampack1@mac.com
    • Emily Jones, National Parks Conservation Association, (865) 329-2424 x 26, cell (865) 335-4666, ejones@npca.org
    • Robert Cross, The Ozark Society, (479) 466-3077, racross@uark.edu
    • Debbie Doss, Arkansas Canoe Club, (501)472-6873, ddoss@conwaycorp.net

    Groups Go To Court to Protect Buffalo National River from Factory Hog Farm Waste

    Lawsuit challenges federal loan guarantees for industrial swine facility in the Buffalo National River watershed

    Little Rock, Arkansas -- A coalition of conservation and citizen groups filed suit today challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for their inadequate review and improper authorization of loan guarantee assistance to C&H Hog Farms, a 6,500-pig factory farm located on a major tributary of the Buffalo National River, a national park site and the country’s first national river. The groups set forth their concerns in a letter to the federal agencies dated June 6, 2013, and are bringing suit only after the agencies have made clear that they are not remedying their violations of the law. The suit was filed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division.
    “FSA and SBA failed to provide the public notice and undertake the environmental review and consultations required by law, so we’re asking the court to set aside the loan guarantees and instruct the agencies to comply,” said Emily Jones of the National Parks Conservation Association. “We have asked FSA and SBA to do the right thing without litigation, but they have not, and today we find ourselves in court to protect the Buffalo River, a national treasure of immeasurable worth.”
    The Buffalo River travels through the heart of the Ozark Mountains in northwestern Arkansas, and runs beneath magnificent cliffs which at times extend nearly 700 feet above the river's clear, quiet pools and rushing rapids. One hundred thirty-five miles of the Buffalo comprise the national river, which attracts more than one million visitors each year who float the crystal waters, camp on the gravel bars, and hike the trails – generating $38 million toward the local economy.
    “The Buffalo is an astonishingly beautiful natural resource, Arkansas’ crown jewel,” said Jack Stewart of the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance. “Siting an industrial hog facility so close to the river threatens to desecrate this national treasure, known to so many for its peaceful meanderings and the scent of wild azaleas in bloom.”
    The C&H facility is located on the banks of Big Creek, a tributary of the Buffalo River, in Mount Judea, Arkansas. Under a contract with Cargill, Inc., an international agricultural and food conglomerate, C&H will confine 6,500 pigs at a time making the operation the first of its size and scale in the Buffalo River watershed. The pigs will produce more than two million gallons of manure, wastewater and litter each year, which will be collected in open-air storage ponds on site and spread onto approximately 630 acres of land surrounding the farm and adjacent to the banks of Big Creek. These manure application fields are less than six miles upstream from Big Creek’s confluence with the Buffalo National River, and several are located directly adjacent to Mount Judea School.
    “Local residents will suffer the most from this absurdly located factory farm,” said Debbie Doss of the Arkansas Canoe Club. “Residents of Mount Judea will be exposed, downwind, to the smell and adverse health effects of methane and hydrogen sulfide. A swine facility this large will put children at the Mount Judea School at high risk of health impacts including asthma and other respiratory conditions.”
    The C&H facility received more than $3.4 million in loan guarantee assistance from the federal government. FSA approved a loan guarantee for 90 percent of a $1,302,000 loan to C&H. SBA approved a loan guarantee for a $2,318,136 loan.
    In providing this federal assistance, SBA undertook no environmental review whatsoever, while FSA prepared a deeply flawed and insufficient environmental assessment that fails to comply with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Among multiple errors and omissions, FSA’s environmental assessment incorrectly defines the acreage of the C&H facility, does not take into account nearby sensitive areas such as the Mount Judea School, and ignores the consequences of manure draining through the porous karst geology of the Buffalo River region.
    “In the 60’s and 70’s the Ozark Society worked with Congress to have the Buffalo protected for posterity as the nation’s first national river,” said Robert Cross of the Ozark Society. “We have countered threats to the river before, but now face the biggest threat to date. Despite the assurances of C&H that they have the highest level of technology to prevent accidents, the siting of this facility in karst terrain and directly adjacent to a tributary of the Buffalo River will not require an accident to cause tremendous damage to the river and the surrounding environment. SBA and FSA should have, but did not, consider these factors in its review of the proposed project.”
    In addition, the notice of FSA’s environmental assessment was never published in a local newspaper in Mount Judea. FSA also failed to inform the National Park Service Superintendent of the Buffalo National River of the environmental review as required, and the superintendent did not find out about the environmental assessment and guarantee assistance until well after it had been approved for the C&H operation. In a letter to FSA, the Park Service identified 45 problems with FSA’s environmental assessment and stated that it was “so woefully inadequate that it should immediately be rescinded.”
    “The rubber-stamping of the requested loan guarantees, the inadequate review of the environmental consequences, and the failure to notify the local community and to consult with sister agencies as required, makes a mockery of the law and puts a national treasure in harm’s way,” said Hannah Chang, attorney with the public interest law firm Earthjustice. “It should never have come to this point, and we are in court to make sure it is put right and doesn’t happen again.”
    Earthjustice, Earthrise Law Center, and local attorney Hank Bates are representing the Arkansas Canoe Club, Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, National Parks Conservation Association, and The Ozark Society in filing this complaint against the USDA and SBA.
    The court filing can be found at the following link: http://earthjustice.org/documents/legal-document/pdf/buffalo-river-complaint
    For additional documents related to the Mount Judea CAFO, visit: 
    http://buffaloriveralliance.org/ 

    *** Spokespeople available upon request in and around Fayetteville, Little Rock and Mount Judea for on-camera interviews.***
    # # #
  • 05 Aug 2013 12:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    http://mikemastersonsmessenger.com/around-mount-judeas-hog-factory/

    Curiosity had gotten the best of me and, after a crunchy catfish po’ boy at the historic Cliff House along Scenic 7 south of Jasper, I wandered with Pat Flippo of Fayetteville into the sprawling valley below known as the Grand Canyon of the Ozarks. That breathtaking expanse is home to the hamlet of Mount Judea.

    Soon we were navigating the dirt roads that lead to the controversial C&H factory hog farm in the sensitive Buffalo National River watershed. I felt certain, as I always have, that the farm’s owners were operating as promised. Proper management never been an issue for me. My problem has been that the state’s Department of Environmental Quality could even consider approving a concentrated animal feeding operation in this treasured spot along Big Creek that flows, nearly 6 miles down, into the Buffalo.

    My concern has been that our supposed guardians of the state’s precious streams didn’t require extensive groundwater testing in the leaky limestone karst formations that underlie the county. After rumbling along the gravel, we encountered a warning sign where an intersecting dirt road dropped over a rise. The sign contained two colorful large words at both top and bottom that shouted “Cargill,” with a smaller center notation, “C&H Hog Farms.” There also were two specific admonitions that warned not to drive past the sign, along with “No Trespassing” for added emphasis.

    We couldn’t even glimpse the buildings designed to hold as many as 6,500 swine, or those two massive waste lagoons. But wait a second … from what Cargill has said during the months of controversy over the farm’s location is that the farm is the sole responsibility of the local owner and Cargill was more of a minor player. I sure couldn’t discern that from this sign. And while I’m familiar with “No Trespassing” signs, it’s the first time I’ve ever happened across a Cargill-promoting, double-naught, super-secret hog farm in our Ozarks.

    Meanwhile, University of Arkansas geoscientist John Van Brahana, who has been freely testing the water quality and groundwater flow for folks around Mount Judea, tells me his work continues. “We’ve not turned anyone down who would like to have an analysis of their water, although we haven’t yet caught up with the demand,” he said.

    He told me the groundwater flow system he’s discovered thus far is characterized by strong surface water and groundwater interaction. He said there are “numerous springs, streams and a full suite of karst features, all which indicate a risk of subsurface water movement.”

    “The background concentrations of microbes is wide-ranging, indicating the natural flow system does not [dilute] these water-quality components well,” he said. “In other words, the system is open and cannot be counted on to filter or slow the movement of bacteria, viruses and nutrients.”

    Dye-tracing in the subsurface flow to this point has involved collecting background sampling to verify there aren’t existing dyes already within the groundwater system, he said. “We’ve located some good injection sites but continue to look for more.”

    Brahana said local landowners and farmers have been remarkably helpful and polite.

    “They have concerns and fears, but I’ve been impressed with their common sense and awareness of the potential problems from both sides of the argument. This gives renewed hope that continued discussions and further study will help lead to meaningful resolution of potential problems.I’ve heard C&H Farms has entered into additional research with several highly respected scientists. This is a very good sign, from my vantage. Although not verified at this time, this will contribute important information on nutrient management that’s been missing."

    Mike Masterson’s column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Email him at mikemasterson10@hotmail.com. Read his blog at mikemastersonsmessenger.com.
  • 01 Aug 2013 9:01 AM | Deleted user


    Mark Bittman July 9, 2013, 7:58 pm

    Breeding Bacteria on Factory Farms

    By MARK BITTMAN

    Mark Bittman on food and all things related.

    Tags:

    antibiotics, Bacteria, Factory Farming, Food and Drug Administration, Livestock Diseases

    The story of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in farm animals is not a simple one. But here’s the pitch version: Yet another study has reinforced the idea that keeping animals in confinement and feeding them antibiotics prophylactically breeds varieties of bacteria that cause disease in humans, disease that may not readily be treated by antibiotics. Since some of these bacteria can be fatal, that’s a scary combination.

    Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are bad enough, but now there are more kinds; they’re better at warding off attack by antibiotics; and they can be transferred to humans by increasingly varied methods. The situation is demonstrably dire.

    Two of the examples highlighted in a Food and Drug Administration report are that about 10 percent of all chicken breasts sold at retail are contaminated with a form of salmonella that’s resistant to at least one antibiotic, and nearly half of all chicken that’s sold is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant campylobacter. Some of the antibiotics in question are used to treat sick people but are also used daily in raising livestock. And it seems that these livestock, especially ones raised by contemporary industrial means, are a breeding ground for making these and other bacteria more resistant [1] .

    Some of this resistance comes from overuse in humans, but there’s increasing evidence that resistance is being bred in animals that are a) raised in confinement and b) given antibiotics routinely. We want to know, of course, whether these bacteria move from animals to humans. Of particular concern is one called MRSA ST398, or “livestock-associated MRSA.” MRSA
    [2] is shorthand for Methicillin (a type of antibiotic)-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

    MRSA is serious [3] . Maryn McKenna [4] , a journalist who specializes in these matters and the author of “Superbug,” says that “MRSA is an underappreciated epidemic in the U.S. undefined over all, that organism causes more than 18,000 deaths and more than 365,000 hospitalizations a year undefined although we don’t know how much of that epidemic ‘livestock-associated MRSA’ is responsible for.”

    The latest study concerning antibiotic resistance was published last week in the journal PLoS One. It looked at livestock workers in North Carolina (the nation’s second biggest hog-producing state, after Iowa), including those in what the study’s authors called “industrial” livestock production and those on farms where the animals were raised without antibiotics and grown on pasture. In this study, the S. aureus bacteria with genetic markers most closely linked to livestock were found in far greater numbers in workers on the industrial farms.

    In fact, says Christopher Heaney, corresponding author of the study and assistant professor of environmental health sciences and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “This study shows that these livestock-associated strains are present among workers at industrial livestock operations and that these strains are resistant not just to methicillin, but to multiple antibiotics undefined including antibiotics that are used to treat human infections.”

    Because the study looked at workers and not animals on the same farms, there are gaps to fill in, as Heaney freely admits. “But everyone in our study had direct or indirect contact with livestock,” he says, “and one might expect to find similar prevalence of an opportunistic pathogen like S. aureus that is linked with livestock in both groups.

    “But we didn’t see that: we saw both a higher prevalence of drug resistance undefined for tetracycline and multidrug resistance undefined in the industrial compared to the antibiotic-free group and, in the industrial group only, we saw drug-resistant strains with multiple genetic characteristics linked to livestock.

    “That’s remarkable; we never expected to see something so clear at the outset of the study.”

    A reasonable person could assume that these drug-resistant staph bacteria are coming from animals, since you generally don’t find them in the non-livestock-working population in the United States.

    This is another dot in a sketch that’s becoming clearer. There’s evidence of MRSA moving from pigs to humans in Iowa undefined where pioneering research has been done by Tara Smith at the University of Iowa undefined and in Europe, where Jan Kluytmans, an epidemiologist at VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, has found that “approximately 40 percent of all new persons with MRSA carry the livestock-associated strain, and most are related to contact with animals. Our data on MRSA are convincing that livestock is now a huge reservoir of MRSA for humans.”

    The F.D.A., which is under court order to do something about the routine use of antibiotics, has come up with a lame voluntary reduction scheme undefined “Guidance 213,” it’s called undefined acting as if it will save its real regulatory muscle for after this scheme flops. (Which it will undefined flop, that is.) Worse, despite repeated promises that the voluntary guidelines were imminent, they haven’t issued even those. And now, “Guidance 213 is currently in the clearance process, but we cannot predict a timeline on its release,” an agency spokeswoman wrote me in an e-mail. Period.

    That’s simply insulting. Of course, almost no one is pushing the F.D.A. to do its job. There are a handful of people in Congress; certainly some well-meaning NGOs like Pew Charitable Trusts, Natural Resources Defense Council and others; and dedicated individuals like the lawyer Bill Marler. Against them are arrayed not only Big Pharma undefined which is providing four times as many antibiotics to animals as it is to humans undefined but industrial ag, which cares only about raising animals “efficiently” and profitably.

    At whose cost? Well, the answer to that question, at least, is pretty simple.


    1. Bacteria can share resistance genes with other bacteria, even in humans, even with those that have never been exposed to antibiotics or seen the inside of a farm animal.

    2. I said this was not simple: There are some broad categories of MRSAs: community-associated, hospital-acquired (the best-known) and livestock-associated. Each of the first two comprises dozens undefined or more undefined different strains. At the moment, ST (sequence type) 398 is the most common livestock-associated MRSA, but there are others. And there is also MDRSA undefined for Multi-Drug Resistant staph aureus undefined which is ultimately even scarier, because the drug resistance has spread to other important antibiotics. (Like, “Oh, we can’t use methicillin? Let’s use tetracycline. Oh, that doesn’t work either?” Meanwhile the patient is getting sicker and sicker.) It gets more complex but no less awful.

    3. This (PDF) long anecdote is quite horrifying and the opposite of reassuring. Be prepared.

    4. Here’s her blog on Wired about this subject.

    • Save
    • E-mail
    • Share
    • Print

    antibiotics, Bacteria, Factory Farming, Food and Drug Administration, Livestock Diseases


    Previous Post Lies, Damned Lies and the Telegraph

    Related Posts from Opinionator

    •·         Bacteria 1, F.D.A. 0
    •·         Of Judges and Judging
    •·         It’s the Sugar, Folks
    •·         The Cosmetics Wars
    G.M.O.’s: Let’s Label ’Em
  • 27 Jul 2013 7:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Questions followed permit

    Mike Masterson


    There’s a new twist in the C&H Hog Farms controversy. First, though, let’s briefly review:
    You may recall that the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality scheduled no public hearings, and published no notices of application in Newton County before permitting the C&H hog factory farm in that rural county’s Buffalo National River watershed at Mount Judea.
    Moreover, neither the agency’s Newton County office nor the agency’s director were aware of the farm’s permit until after it had been issued in the late summer of 2012. During a public meeting held in Jasper (the Newton County seat) on May 8, 2013undefinedlong after it might have even matteredundefinedEnvironmental Quality permit manager John Bailey wound up answering questions on behalf of the farm’s owners.
    In short, the odiferous way this factory farm’s permit was so effortlessly issued in such a sensitive environmental area has teemed with relevant questions for me and many others.
    Now there are even more.
    A Freedom of Information Act request has led to a document that reveals that, months after the agency issued its permit, the agency’s professional engineer based in Jasper questioned methods described in the farm’s notice of intent filed with its application.
    The nationally qualified engineer, Marysia Jastrzebski, emailed her list of specific comments and concerns to Bailey on Dec. 21, 2012undefinedmonths after Environmental Quality had permitted the farm.
    Her concerns included the nature of C&H Farms’ construction contract; possible leakage and the wisdom of applying raw hog waste into karst terrain; the potential potency of that waste compared with human waste; the possible amounts of precipitation that could prompt waste spills; the adequacy, capacity and construction of the storage lagoons and engineering concerns with the levees and a missing spillway; as well as the apparent inadequacy of public notice related to properly permitting the farm.
    Bailey responded to Jastrzebski by telephone rather than in writing, according to the department’s chief communicator, Katherine Benenati. She explained that the agency has no policy that requires written responses to internal concerns expressed in writing, even from one of its engineers.
    Say what?
    It’s difficult to believe any state agency of professionals would operate that way. But why be concerned since their permit had been issued?
    It’s obvious to me that Jastrzebski wasn’t opposing the factory farm. Her questions were about the notice of intent and the manner in which the department had processed and approved the permit. The legitimate points she raised certainly should have been resolved as a matter of due diligence before the permit was issued.
    I have to believe that because this concerned department engineer expressed her relevant concerns, Gov. Mike Beebe will now ensure that Jastrzebski isn’t targeted for political retribution within the agency. I seriously doubt the people of Arkansas would look kindly on that sort of thing.
    In fact, it’s vigilant public servants like Jastrzebski who, from the nature of her salient questions, should have been overseeing the permitting process for this mislocated farm from the start, although she ordinarily wouldn’t even have been included in the permitting process for such a factory farm. (See her entire email published at my website address listed below.)
    A Jastrzebski concern of particular interest to me was that the farm’s notice of intent says up to 5,000 gallons per acre each day of hog waste would be allowed to escape into “the karst terrain within five miles from the [Buffalo National River]. We calculated that it would be approximately 3,400 [gallons] per day. We are not talking about raw domestic wastewater … but hog waste,” she writes. Hog waste is far more biologically potent than that of humans.
    Duane Woltjen, a mechanical engineer from Fayetteville and a director with the Ozark Society, said that considering the actual “planar area” of both hog-waste lagoons, each with the potential to leak, his calculations instead show some 6,190 gallons of daily hog waste potentially seeping from those holding ponds lined in clay.
    That’s potentially 1.3 million to 2.3 million gallons of hog waste leakage allowed over a year into the Buffalo National River watershed via the nearby tributary of Big Creek.
    The revelation of Jastrzebski’s email prompted Woltjen to summarize: “The quality of the Buffalo National River, the health of the citizens and the tourist economy of the region have all been greatly jeopardized by the [Department of Environmental Quality’s] clearly demonstrated incompetency, lack of diligence, obfuscation and simple underutilization of common knowledge as disclosed by this set of interdepartmental email messages.”
     
    Mike Masterson’s column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Email him at mikemasterson10@hotmail.com. Read his blog at mikemastersonsmessenger.com.
  • 27 Jul 2013 7:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    State may fund pollution testing on hog farm in Mt. Judea

    Arkansas Times: http://m.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2013/07/26/state-may-fund-pollution-testing-on-hog-farm-in-mt-judea?section=868702

    Posted by David Ramsey on Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 12:58 PM


    TESTING PROPOSED: C&H hog farm is willing.
    I’ve heard from a number of lawmakers and stakeholders that the governor is having ongoing discussions about state-funded, independent testing on the C & H hog farm in Mt. Judea, which has sparked controversy because of its location by a tributary of the Buffalo River. The state would contract with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture to conduct nutrient and bacteria monitoring on soil and water on and near the farm. The scope of the project is unclear at this point.
    “The governor has been looking for a way that we can work within existing state laws and regulations to have as much monitoring on the hog farm operation as possible,” said Matt DeCample, Gov. Mike Beebe’s spokesman. “What he wants to do is to propose using rainy day funds, which would need legislative approval, to do ongoing testing and monitoring up along that part of the watershed. We’re working with the University of Arkansas on that.”

    DeCample said that the project is “by no means a done deal” and that he had no details at this time about what the testing might entail. The C&H farmers are on board, but they also need permission from the various landowners that the farmers lease from.

    DeCample said there was no timetable on a formal announcement or proposal.
  • 26 Jul 2013 8:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has extended the comment period on proposed changes to the current permit for a Yell County hog farm.


    The extension was granted after a citizen requested an extension at a public hearing in Dardanelle on July 22, 2013, to discuss the proposed changes to the permit. The comment period was set to expire at the end of the hearing.
    The facility, owned by Michael Darr, doing business as Darr Swine Farm, is located at 10519 Gibson Lake Rd., east of State Highway 7 about four miles south of Dardanelle. The proposed permit modification would increase the number of hogs allowed at the facility, add land application sites for animal waste, and allow the construction and operation of a second earthen holding pond for liquid waste from the operation.
    Written comments on the proposed changes may be sent to Casey Vickerson, Water Division, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118. Electronic mail comments may also be sent to: Water-Draft-Permit-Comment@adeq.state.ar.us. The deadline for submitting written or E-mail comments is 4:30 p.m. July 26, 2013.
    Interested parties should contact Casey Vickerson at the above address or by telephone at 501-682-0648 for information about the proposed permit, including instructions on how to obtain or view a copy of the proposal.
© Buffalo River Watershed Alliance
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software