Lord knows any management system that would remove the
wastes from a confined feeding operation would be better than what
goes on at these nightmarish facilities. Their systems are consistently
underdesigned and poorly designed. They regularly fail as evidenced by
the fact that the largest single number and the largest total quantity
of release hazardous or objectionable substance that the Indiana
Department of Environmental Emergency Response has responded to for the
last ten years have been from confined feeding operations.
Unfortunately, what you get in the waste is what the hog house
janitors bring in the front door. This includes tremendous amounts of
antibiotics, hormones, parasiticides, feed supplement additives, and
pesticides. Land application of wastes in NC ( which by the way is now
currently the largest poultry and second largest hog producing state in
the nation) has rendered thousands of acres incapable of growing crops
because of certain metals and other substances which impair the
germination of seeds of any sort. I have a feeling that the soup that
comes from a CFO may have some substantive toxic effects on the
hydroponic system although you are not necessarily interested in
germination in that system.
By the way, I feel it is inconsistent to call a CFO a farm. A farm is a
producing unit which has some degree of sustainability in regard to the
produced input and the final production totals and in terms of prudent
energy use. Ten thousand hogs or forty thousand chickens on 10 acres
could hardly be defined as a natural production system or a farm. I
think a term such as "agribusiness facility" is more appropriate for
these operations and most of the cropping operations in this country.
The solution to the problem of the waste produced at these facilities is
a simple one. It is much like the problems associated with the wastes
from the nuclear energy industry. You find the answer in ceasing the
production of that type of concentration of waste.
Grazing livestock at sensible stocking rates deposit their nutrients on
the land that is dedicated to their production. Think of it ! minimal
waste handling and the waste is already where it does the most good.
Plus if the livestock is pastured they do not require huge amount of
antibiotics to keep infection and disease in check. The don't need
expensive and exotic supplements if they are regionally and
climatically suited. Who would have thunk it? When they are healthy you
also will not have to implant or feed hormones to push them to
production before mortality takes it's toll. All those magic bullets
that agribusiness has developed to solve one problem after another
because of the wrong paradigm employment for the last 40 years, could
stay in the gun , and we could concentrate on some of the real problems
on this wonderful planet.
Indiana Chapter -OCIA