Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Who is your Hero?

The Rensselaer Republican has announced that nominations are being sought by the Rensselaer Earth Day Planning Committee to recognize a local "Environmental Hero" at this year's Earth Day celebration. (you can vote here)

It would be so difficult, if not impossible, for me to choose just one hero, and unfortunately, most of my heros don't live in Rensselaer.

For example, Barbara Sha Cox is one of my Indiana Environmental Heros for her tireless efforts on fighting for clean waters, soil and air throughout the State. She has been a frequent speaker at legislative hearings and does her best to keep everyone informed on what's coming up that can affect so many lives throughout the State.

Other Environmental Heros of mine include; Sandy O'Brien for her leadership role with the Dunelands Sierra Club, Jim Cole the Indiana Important Bird Areas Coordinator for the Indiana Chapter of Audubon, Diane Packett (also with Audubon) for her dedicated work to protect birds (and other wildlife) in the State, E. Thomas Kemp from Kemplog who has brought so many issues to the public eye thanks to his blog ... and there's more... so many more.

Yet another Environmental Hero of mine that deserves special recognition is Dianne Richardson for keeping a constant watch over environmental violators in this region. My hat goes off to her for stepping forward and running for Council, at great personal sacrifice, providing a voice for us all on some of the toughest issues facing Jasper County today.

Speaking of issues, a new one has popped up on my radar screen regarding Jasper County Hospital.

In case you haven't heard, Jasper County Hospital has requested Jasper County Council to approve an $18 million dollar expansion project backed by real estate property taxes. That's a fairly large sum, by any standards.

According to the ad in the Rensselaer Republican yesterday, the public will get a chance to hear from the hospital about the expansion, to voice their concerns and opinions, and to ask questions. Since all property owners will be paying for it, regardless of where you live or whether you use the hospital, I believe it is very important for everyone to be well informed about this project.

Here are the dates and times.

Thursday April 5th
Remington Public Library
6:30 – 8:00pm (EST)

Tuesday, April 10th
Jasper County Hospital
6:30 – 8:00pm (CDT)

Thursday, April 26
Fase Center
11978 North 600 West
DeMotte, In
6:30 – 8:00 pm (CDT)

Attending public meetings is one way you can be a hero to your community. Sometimes the results of these meetings may not be what you would like to see or hear, but at least you know in your heart you have done something towards the shaping and forming of our County. And that, in my humble opinion, makes you a hero, too.


Anonymous said...

The real hero's are the CAFO owners who responsibly protect the environment and provide the tax dollars to fund our roads and schools.

kmyers said...

And it's such a pity that it is so hard to find those CAFO owners who actually DO protect the environment and provide tax dollars -- instead of those who are drawing tens of thousands of dollars (even millions) in subsidies paid for by taxpayers... while at the same time, spreading millions of gallons of pathogen-laden, drug-laden manure across the land ...contaminating our soils, air and waters.

When it comes time for the clean up -- again, it's the taxpayers who pay while the CAFO owners wave the Farm Bill of Rights in the air and walk away with protections that were originally intended to protect small farmers from shutting down across our nation.

The recent actions of one particular CAFO OWNER who dumped 200 loads of c-stone flyash next to one of the few healthy creeks left in this region, on the thin layer of land separating the flyash from the aquifer feeding so many residents in this area is a glaring example... and the furthest thing from environmentally responsible actions.

Show me a CAFO owner who is not drawing one penny in subsidies and is actually running his/her operation in a way that will protect our environment with full consideration for animal welfare -- and provide the proof. I'd sincerely like to hear about him/her. Give us a name.

Anonymous said...

Ten-thousand calves are the equivalent of only 60% of the chickens presently permited for the Schuringa property.This is an almost perfect balance of nutrients and agronomic uptake by crops grown on the property.The C stone is a commotidy regulated by the state and is an acceptable product widley used for a variety of purposes includeing the concrete in your house, the fill under your highways, and driveways as well as an impermiable base in certain applications such as this.
Neither Schuringa poultry nor Wolf Creek Cattle Company broke any state or federal law, only nipsco protocall was broken of which neither Schuringa Poultry nor Wolf Creek Cattle Co. had any knowledge of prior to being informed by Nipsco. This is not a toxic substance and since it was brought in there to safegaurd the environment and in compliance with state and federal laws I belive it should stay. Those who speak without knowledge expose themselves as ignorant and one sided. Who gives people the right to move in on top of an animal feeding operation and then tell them they have no right to be there? A reduction in animal units should be something you are in favor of isn't it??? I know these guys and they didn't come to play, they came to win and to stand up for the rights of livestock producers big and small. Whether or not you want to believe it these are family operations and are positive proof that in this great country a family that works together can succeed in great things with Gods blessing.

kmyers said...

Regarding your comment, "Ten-thousand calves are the equivalent of only 60% of the chickens presently permited for the Schuringa property."

The Purdue University expert on the subject disagrees. You might have missed this post with their calculations.


Quote: "Using manure production numbers provided by the Midwest Plan Service, we estimate total manure production to be as follows:

350,000 Laying Hens = 9,581 tons/year

10,000 Beef Calves= 32,712 tons/year (i.e., +241% increase)

Please note that the amount of major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) will not increase; however, the mass of the manure, heavy metal, antibiotics, hormones, etc., are all likely to increase."


Thankfully, IDEM only approved them for 3,150 head of calves. And yes, you're right, I AM in favor of a reduction in animal units.

However, I also stand by what I stated so clearly in the very beginning when this poultry-to-dairy issue first came up -- this is the WRONG location, in my humble opinion, for ANY CAFO.

Regarding safety of flyash, residents of the Pines in Indiana tell a far different story than what you would like others to believe. Here's the link again, in case you missed it.

From all I've read on the subject (and I've read a LOT) ...dumping and/or stockpiling flyash next to a creek is not a very smart (nor safe) thing to do.

I'm aware of its uses... I've read the ASTM Safety Data Sheets on both Class C and Class F... and I've also read the various considerations that have to be made regarding water tables and/or tributaries in nearby vicinities of where it is planned for use.

As for breaking any federal or state laws... don't make me dredge up that history regarding the Shuringa farm. A link to this farm's past violations has already been provided elsewhere on this blog.

On the other hand, if you're only referring specifically to breaking any laws regarding the unauthorized hauling of flyash to the Shuringa/Wolf Creek Cattle site ...that remains to be seen.

Are you telling us no charges will be laid in this matter?

I find it interesting that you would treat the viloation of NIPSCO protocols so lightly.

Somebody somewhere had to give the order to haul the flyash over there... without NIPSCO's knowledge or approval ...and yet, you state that neither Shuringa nor Wolf Creek Cattle was aware that the site had to be approved for suitable use prior to dumping it there.

By your comments, are you telling us that you have a considerable amount of education and training with the use of flyash (aka c-stone)?

If you are, then here's a couple quick questions that have been on my mind...

Was it "Class C" c-stone?

Or was it "Class F" c-stone?

Or... if you are not educated/trained on the subject of flyash, then are you simply stating what the marketers of c-stone have told you ...and accepting their word to be true?

I look forward to your answers.

Now, I refer back to another part of your post where you say, "Those who speak without knowledge expose themselves as ignorant and one sided."

We did not move in on the CAFOs ...they moved in on us. We were here LONG LONG LONG before ANY CAFOs in this region. FIVE generations of our family have lived in this home.

You state, "I know these guys and they didn't come to play, they came to win..."

By their actions and everything they have done with respect to how they are treating rural residents in this region, I know without doubt that "they are here to win" as you put it.

It's just so sad to see they would step on so many innocent people's lives to do it. May God forgive me saying so, but I don't believe that to be a Christian way of doing things.

Anonymous said...

Why are you so angry you live in a rural area expect farms. Ohh and they are not going to kill you or get any poison in the water supplies.

Anonymous said...

When you live in rural areas you should expect regular rural things.

kmyers said...

In response to the above 2 comments, I'd like to quote this USA Today article:

"The first rule of public health is one most of us learn in kindergarten: Don't eat poop." (emphasis added)

If you're not sure as to the reason why, go read the rest of the article. It's titled, "Food-borne bacteria evolving, becoming more dangerous"

Did you know that many coliform bacteria leave a fingerprint that can be detected by Phage testing?

In some cases, even when the bacteria has "morphed" outside the animal from which it has come, there are certain DNA markers that can trace it to its source.

Thought you might find that interesting...

But I digress.

As for poisoning the water supplies and/or not killing you, you probably haven't read up on the Walkerton studies. In that example, manure was spread in accordance with Government guidelines... on a field far from the municipal water well... and the catastrophy that followed was traced back to that field. It was a severe lesson for us all -- no matter on which side of the CAFO issue we stand.

Here's another article worth reading from which I quote:

"Factory farming... has contributed to rural depopulation and the decline of the family farm. It has nothing going for it except that it produces food that is, at the point of sale, cheap. But for that low price, the animals, the environment and rural neighborhoods have to pay steeply."

The article even references the Catholic Church, quote: "No less a religious authority than Pope Benedict XVI has stated that human 'dominion' over animals does not justify factory farming."

Here's another quote from the same article...

------ quote ------
While head of the Roman Catholic Church's Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the future pope condemned the "industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds." This "degrading of living creatures to a commodity" seemed to him "to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible."
----- end quote -----

Maybe it helps you sleep better at night thinking I and others against this particular CAFO are just some kind of angry raving lunatics or something...


As I've mentioned before on this blog, our family have lived here for 5 generations -- in complete harmony with the farmers in this region.

Indeed, my husband's grandfather and great grandfather both farmed the land here.

My very own grandmother, may she rest in peace, ran a very successful small dairy farm.

CAFOs -- aka livestock factory farms -- are NOT "regular rural things" ...far from it.

Before one showed up 2500 feet from our doorstep, I knew little about them. It's been quite an education since.

To CAFO owners: Believe what you want to believe in order to rake in your profits at the expense of innocent rural residents in your path. Ignore the dangers associated with the manure and other byproducts. Ignore your impact on the environment and wildlife. Ignore the animals you use and harvest. Ignore your neighbors. That's one choice.

I don't stand to profit from anything I've learned about CAFOs. I don't make one thin dime from telling others what I have discovered on this journey. But I speak up anyway. That's my choice. I wouldn't be living true to myself if I sat by and said nothing at all.

To the two Anonymous commenters above: Even if I were not living here, in the path of so much CAFO growth, don't think for one minute I would still remain silent on the subject.

Anonymous said...

You like to work in tons of manure produced because it makes your case sound good.But tons dont matter what matters is nutrient values these have the greatest benefit to crops but also need to be managed , the balance or the difference is inert material, mostly water. calf manure is far less concentrated with nutrients than chicken manure. your husbands family grew up in a rural area where livestock has always been produced.This has been a "CAFO" for 35 years with or without papers that titled itas one.
As far as the c stone the wheatfield plant only produces class c as far as I know,made from the cleanest coal available.if you check i believe the pines had class f. class f wont solidify like class c. As far as charges you speak of these would be a fight against the state legislature and nipsco. Flyash is regulated under indiana code 13-19-3-3. And as far as violating nipsco "protocall" nipsco just a company not a govering agency.they to have to abide by the law just like You and I.

Anonymous said...

Karen-everyone needs a cause and sometimes the facts get lost in a zeal for a cause. Factory farming is a term that radical vegetarians and animal rights fringe groups use to scare the public to promote their religion. The fact is that the world needs farms of this size to provide the food for the world population. WHAT A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE, RIGHT IN THE HEART OF A COUNTY THAT DOES SO MUCH TO END WORLD HUNGER. The fact is who would eat all the by products of human food and fuel production, DDGS, wheat midds, soybean meal. these would fill up our landfills and couse great pollution. what a noble and honoralble occupation to be a CAFO worker/owner or supporter. Feeding the world,preventing world hunger and helping the environment by reducing landfill contributions.

Anonymous said...

I believe your agenda is the abolishment of animal agriculture. Let's put all the cards on the table. Is your agenda anti meat anti animal agriculture anti capitalism. I hear socialistic worldview coming out in your blog. How will you feed America or the world? Are you willing to milk your own cow and maybe keep enough to give to your nieghbor.

Anonymous said...

your husbands family and many like his no longer farms because they like to eat,and farming on that scale was no longer economically was a choice they made in order to feed thier families.these larger farms are stricly a function of economics.

Dave Williams said...

I am curious. If a landfill were to pop up in a field adjacent to your homestead, would you have a problem with that? After all, that is a rural thing isn't it?

Anonymous said...

word on the street .. there are many more loads of c stone coming from another source

kmyers said...

I don't have much time to respond here today, so I'll have to make my answers brief.

To Anonymous who posted about the age of the poultry CAFO (35 years) and C-Stone. My husband recalls one blue barn and what looked like a food storage(?) building back in those days... certainly not a giant 350,000 poultry CAFO by any stretch. Check the facts -- then come back with the actual years of how long it was CAFO size. For a few years, it even gave appearances of being abandoned (about 20 years ago). You might want to find out how many of those years the poultry farm was actually in operation.

In either case, there were 500 residential homes in the area before it came here. That particular location was encircled by mostly A2 residential zoned land long before it even became a poultry operation of any size. Seems to me, that was poor planning from the very start.

On the other side of the coin, my husband's great-grandmother lived in this house back in the early 1900s. She often told the family stories from those early years... Like the stories about trading with the North American native Indians who use to camp along the ditch bank not far from the homestead and came up to her at the farmhouse, trading wild game for her baked goods and other farm goods. It was a relationship of harmony with each other and with the land. If I had a good scanner, I might post some pictures from those early years of Jasper County.

To the other Anonymous, contrary to what you would like to think, my husband's grandfather did NOT fold the farm because he could not make any money farming that way. In fact, his farm was quite profitable. His reasons for selling the land to a crop farmer have nothing to do with profits (or losses) -- guess again.

To the two Anonymous commenters talking about "anti meat anti animal agriculture anti capitalism" and things like "radical vegetarians and animal rights fringe groups" yadda, yadda, yadda... give it a rest. If you were trying to figure me out -- you missed by a long shot -- and only revealed more about your own true nature.

Keep in mind, both my husband and I come from farming ancestry ...using what people today call "sustainable world" farming practices. We were raised to respect the wildlife, the land, the waters, the farm animals and the air. Our ancesters' livelihoods depended upon it, so I guess it's reasonable to understand that a good deal of their beliefs were passed down to us.

"End world hunger..." Really? Do you mean to tell me you're actually giving it all away? Because from what I understand, a great deal of the world hunger issues stem from poverty. Beyond the world hunger issues, we should keep in mind that quite a few go hungry right here at home in the good ol' USA.

And full circle -- back again to the first Anonymous c-stone commenter regarding "C" vs. "F" class flyash. From what I understand, the differences:

"...are distinguished by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) on the basis of their free lime (CaO) content. Class F ashes have less than 10% lime while Class C ashes have more than 10% lime."

The big concern here -- since the c-stone flyash is being stockpiled unconfined next to a public waterway -- isn't just lime content. It's about other contents which may be in that pile, such as: lead, mercury, copper, boron, etc. and of course -- arsenic.

I guess none of us will know for certain how much (if any) of the above toxins are contained in that huge heap until the sample test results are made public.

With respect to arsenic, which is one of my main concerns, for those who don't know, the CDC states: "There is no effective treatment for arsenic exposure. Your health care provider can only help provide relief from your symptoms."

Also note, that if it gets into your water, quote:

"Please DO NOT heat or boil your water to remove arsenic. Because some of the water will evaporate, boiling water can increase the concentration of arsenic in your water. Disinfecting water by chlorination or by using most mechanical filters is also NOT effective in removing arsenic from water. However, there are several types of filters that can be used, including reverse osmosis, ultra-filtration, and ion exchange."

Back to the Anonymous commenter, regarding: "Flyash is regulated under indiana code 13-19-3-3."

Yes, it is regulated in Indiana -- thanks for posting the code number here. (here is the actual link)

Under the code, there are 9 permitted uses for flyash in Indiana, 3 of which refer to surface and/or underground mining operations. Interestingly enough, I didn't find anything in the code that allows stockpiling of the material next to public tributaries.

Anonymous said...

It only takes 82,000 chickens to make a CAFO. There have been that many there for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

If by chance the county council passes the hospital request for an additional 18 million to ad an addition, We the people of Jasper county can get up a petition to stop it and say no to this added tax burden. Jean Hart

??? said...

I think your comments on rural depopulation is a bit off. I've lived in jasper county by entire life and I have seen more homes being constructed than being tore down. Doesn't look like RURAL DEPOPULATION TO ME???