By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only



The current issue of Hoard's Dairyman, the national dairy
farm magazine (May 25, 2001, Volume 146, No.10), includes
this warning in their monthly editorial:

"We All Need to be Concerned about ENVIRONMENTAL

Are the Hoard's editorial writers really concerned about
protecting or preserving the environment? They write:

"Believe us when we say that the heat is being turned up and
that, in some cases, there are more than environmental
issues at stake."

Eventually, the Hoard's editorial writer makes his point and
reveals his bias:

"The mercurial agendas of environmental groups will have a
big impact on how and where we produce milk in the future.
Permits of some 60 planned dairies in Tulare County, Calif.,
have been blocked for more than a year by legal

Mercurial agendas? Legal Shenanigans?

Mercury was the gofer god, acting as messenger for the other
gods, but Mercury was also the Roman god of commerce.
Pictures of Mercury show him holding a purse. If it's
monetary agendas the dairy people are concerned about, that
would be a good starting point for environmental analyses to
begin. What will it cost to treat the 3.5 trillion pounds of
urine and feces entering our waterways each year produced by
dairy and cattle processors?

I searched the copy of Merriam Webster's Collegiate
Dictionary, sitting on my desk, for the word "mercurial" and
found the following:

Pronunciation: m&r-'kyur-E-&l, Function: adjective, Date:
14th century, 1: of, relating to, or born under the planet
Mercury 2: having qualities of eloquence, ingenuity...

Ah, yes. The agendas of environmental organizations are
sometimes quite eloquent and ingenious.

Do environmentalists focus upon the bottom line money
issues? Nope. Their interests are bottom line health issues.
Dirty, rotten selfish S.O.B.s, those environmentalists.

Legal shenanigans? Do lawyers shenanigate? (Rhymes with

If memory serves me, Shenaniga was the Roman god of the
harvest of nuts, a close relative of the Jewish prophet,

I again consulted my copy of Merriam Webster's Collegiate
Dictionary,  for the word "she·nan·i·gan" and found this:

Pronunciation: sh&-'na-ni-g&n, Function: noun, Date: 1855,
1: devious trick used especially for an underhand purpose 2:
tricky or questionable practices or conduct--usually used in
plural, high-spirited or mischievous activity--usually used
in plural.

Shall we discuss shenanigans?

Leaving the editorial page, we find this featured column on
page 367:

by Carissa Itle

(The author is manager of environmental services for the
National Milk Producers Federation)

The first bit of advice from the author to the farmer is:

"Manage odors and encourage good neighbor relations. Many
producers' environmental problems start by complaints from
their neighbors."

Ah, a breath of fresh air in a Hoard'scolumn. Compare that
to the stench of pig feces in that editorial contained in
the same issue.

Truth revealed: Neighbors complain. Neighbors with small
farms do not welcome factory farm operations.

Carissa Itle encourages farmers to:

"Become involved in local conservation groups."

Her next sentence is a side splitter...sit down please. Do
not drink a glass of water while reading this. The water is
guaranteed to be forced through your nostrils and ears:

"If you have more than 700 milking age cows and are
currently claiming the 'zero discharge' exemption, think
about obtaining a permit."

Zero discharge for 700 cows?  That's 56,000 pounds of
environmental crap per day.  Zero discharge?

Who makes these rules? Who gives these exemptions?

The column points out that USDA considers every dairy farm
to be an AFO (animal feeding operation). If the farm has
more than 1,000 "animal units," it's a CAFO (concentrated
animal feeding operation).

CAFOs are considered to be sources of pollution under the
Clean Water Act.

New rules were proposed by the Clinton Administration. New
permit applications have been submitted by factory farm
operations seeking to obtain permits before new rules come
into effect.

Environmental lawyers, hired by small farmers objecting to
those who seek to pollute, are criticized for using "legal

Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, and who is
shenanigating America?

Oh, poetic justice.  For all of the crap in the waterways,
there is a champion.  Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, I kid you
not.  Crapo is the chairman of the Senate subcommittee
overseeing the Clean Water Act.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may change the

You have until July 30th to file your comment with the EPA.
Let them know whether you want to see more or less crap in
the water.

Please send your original letter with three copies to:

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Proposed Rule Office
of Water, Engineering and Analysis Division (4303) U.S. EPA
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20460

EMAIL YOUR COMMENTS (Refer to above info)

Robert Cohen author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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