CAFOs HARBOR MRSA SUPERBUG

The harm generated by confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) continues to increase – this time by generating a breeding ground for the superbug MRSA – methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.  We usually think of MRSA as occurring in hospitals, nursing homes, or other health-care institutions where bacteria may flourish in residents with weakened immune systems and where the inhabitants are heavily-antibiotic reliant.

Ordinarily, healthy human beings play host to the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, which are found in the nose and on the skin and which usually do not cause problems.  But our preoccupation with dosing up with antibiotics has led the somewhat benign regular Staph bacteria to turn on us and mutate into what is known as a superbug – MRSA.

Photo Credit:  Google Images

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The bug has become resistent to our antibiotics, and the more antibiotics consumed, the better the bug gets at retooling itself to survive.  Now MRSA has been found thriving in swine CAFOs.  Factory farming operations confine a large number of animals to relatively small areas. These operations require both antibiotics and pesticides to reduce the spread of disease and pestilence. An excessive reliance on antibiotics can result in the incubation of virulent, resistant bacterial strains.

If pig feces and urine swirling around in manure lagoons, if air fouled by the smell of thousands of animals crammed into metal buildings, if manure seeping into the rivers and aquifers, if the blatant cruelty of confining these animals into close quarters never to see the outdoors aren’t enough to raise the alarm bell about CAFOs, maybe the fact that the superbug is lurking in their confines will do it.  Just one more reason that CAFOs are harmful to our environment.

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About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
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69 Responses to CAFOs HARBOR MRSA SUPERBUG

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  2. It also seems that there needs to be much more chemical ground analysis testing. There has not been enough “striking” evidence to legislators that Indiana could be facing some major harm to some of the best farmland in America.

  3. Iceironman says:

    The only damage from manure is human waste-heavy metals become an issue at high rates. What do you want to know about the testing of soil?

  4. Iceironman says:

    I bet there are less hogs in that cafo pic above than in my kids govt school class room. But dont worry, every class is equipt with antibactrial lotions, ointments, and soaps to help the natural selection of a superbug. Now youve done it again, seeing all of those hogs has made me hungry, Ill be back a little later. Im fixen me a ham sandwich ala MRSA.

    Should we ban Hospitals, nursing homes et al.

  5. Ira Johnson says:

    Keep in mind that sewage from humans is treated, liquid manure from cafos is not and sits in the manure pit and ferments.

  6. Iceironman says:

    So Ira you would drink the waste from human sewage? There are a few treatments, both ag and townships use them. If you care to learn and not just spew more sewage, ask me and Ill tell you the difference. Do you even know the treatment at sewage plants? Did you know that fermenting is a process at sewage plants. No, you dont. But thats ok, I expect that.

  7. Iceironman:

    So tell us, just how is animal waste treated? Since you have an ag background, I assume you can explain the various chemical treatments that make animal waste safe. Right?

  8. Mike says:

    We had a stream and a well damaged by a CAFO (not a school, nursing home, or hospital).

    And they always seem to put a CAFO near a stream. The CAFO owner who did this said that his farm would benefit the county. Becky Skillman called them an “inspiration to other farming families in the state”.

    It was all a joke from Day-1.

  9. Iceironman says:

    I have worked with the NRCS et all and the event of a well being damaged by a cafo is pretty much non existant. In fact on my own cafo, our well is less than 90 feet from the pit and the water is of better quality than from a bottle. Did you build your well on a slant under the cafos pits or what. So who is the cafo responsible for the damage to your well? And did the cafo affect your well or poor business practices in the application of the manure?

  10. Mike says:

    It’s not my well. It was a known fact that the CAFO had damaged this well (3,000 COWS). This well was brought up at the BZA hearing.

  11. Ira Johnson says:

    ice-how can you separate a cafo from manure application?

  12. Iceironman says:

    Mike, could you show where the operator of the well was fined? Im not trying to bust your hump but many times well are effected without external forces. Bacteria live everywhere, even in unmalested wells.

    Ira. I can separate a cafo from manure app because a cafo has holding tanks or pits that could lead to a point source pollution problem. The manure apps across the fields are a non point source. But its what I do, so I guess I would know.

    If a GM plants toxic waste leaves the plant, goes 100 miles down the road, then is leaked out of the truck into a stream, would you want to close down the GM plant?

    The point is, just like with libs wanting more regs on banks, corps et at. If all rules that are on the books now for cafos are followed correctley, you will have no leaching and or runoff into streams. No need to bring more red tape, just follow and enforce what is there.

  13. Mike says:

    It wasn’t the operator of the well that was fined. It was the CAFO owner who was fined.
    The well that the CAFO damaged was on the property next to the CAFO. It was damaged not to long after the CAFO was put in.

    The fine was for allowing discharge into the creek. The BZA said that the CAFO owner will be responsible for damaged wells.

    What other evidence do you need?

  14. Iceironman says:

    Can you site public record of this? Just an article or something.

    The discharge into the creek I can see, the damaged well is another story. Or are you saying, IF, the wells are damaged, he will be fined.

  15. Mike says:

    I know the person who owns the property next to the CAFO.

    I haven’t asked him about the details. But since all of this has already happened (the BZA holding the CAFO owner responsible for a damaged well, etc.) then you can pretty much bet that they had the water tested and had proof that the CAFO was liable.

    All of this is on record.

  16. Iceironman says:

    Record where?

  17. Ice:

    I didn’t realize you had a CAFO. How many animals?

    As to the manure app issue, there isn’t any way to separate a CAFO from manure, period. The manure is stored in pits or lagoons and then spread on or injected into fields.

    Although CAFOs are technically considered point sources of pollution for purposes of the NPDES permitting process, the distinction between point source and non-point source pollution is worthless when it comes to contamination from manure – whether from a lagoon or pit washed over by a flooding river or a heavy rain or from runoff injected or spread onto a field.

    I notice you keep bugging Mike for a specific cite to the fact that a CAFO or its manure runoff can damage a well. Here is a link that discusses contamination of wells.

    http://istpp.org/pdf/istpp_cafo.pdf

    Here are a couple of articles about well contamination involving manure:

    http://www.midwestadvocates.org/archive/manure%20on%20frozen%20ground/media/2-18-06%20Appelton%20Post%20Crescent%20Well%20Contamination%20May%20Lead%20to%20Limits%20on%20Manure.htm

    http://www.midwestadvocates.org/archive/manure%20on%20frozen%20ground/3-31-06%20Manure%20Spills%20Harm%20Public%20Health.pdf

    What is so difficult about understanding that if manure is improperly applied, it can leach into underground aquifers which may be the source of drinking water?

  18. Iceironman says:

    Yes, there is a 70 sow furrow to finish operation at my farm. And the pit is about 90 feet away from the well. I would like to know the case where the well was effected for my records, I am also a certified technical provider under the NRCS, if someone has mismanaged, I would like to learn from their mistakes, maybe even help out so this is why I bug Mike, because it is third hand info that I would like to know more about. Remeber, I actualy try to help the environment through programs like EQIP, not just blog about stuff.

    It is hard to justify wells being corrupted on a large scale because if you understand soil and manure, like a soil scientist might, then you know that the soil actualy adsorbs and even absorbs to soil particulates. Now, this manure and these particulates can and do leach into more shallow “stand pipes” and drainage tiles. This is a problem on over app or mis application of manure. However, for manure (or nutrients) to move into an aquifer or well is pretty hard to do in most midwest conditions.

    It is not worthless to identify a cafo as point or non point. How can we correct a problem if we dont know what it is?

  19. Ice:

    If I had your skills and knowledge, I think I would blog so you could get information out there. So how do I get training from the National Rsources Conservation Service? Or the Environmental Quality Incentives Program? Or can I?

    My point on identifying a CAFO as a point or non-point source was to highlight the fact that the manure is a hazardous waste and when it runs off the land or sinks into aquifers, it is still harmful even though it is considered a non-point source at that time.

    Point sources fall under the NPDES permitting system – so CAFOs need the NPDES permit to construct and run the CAFO, but they don’t discharge in the classic sense of some facilities.

  20. Ira Johnson says:

    In counties with sandy soils in northeast Indiana, water and anything (good or bad) it might contain, travels not at a 1″ per month but at 50 feet per day. It can get into the aquifer long before the soil has had time to “absorb”. Also meaning that if it is put in the root zone in the fall in a recharge area, it will be long gone by the next spring and summer when the nutrients are needed and will have traveled to discharge areas and local wells. Our county has this sort of documentation, and it should be used in the placment of cafos and the location of manure application, but was not even considered by IDEM in their issuance of a permit in our area.

  21. Andy says:

    The NYT recently ran this story in regards to MRSA and pig farms:

    “Our Pigs, our Food, our Health”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/opinion/12kristof.html?_r=1&em

  22. Mike says:

    I just got thru reading that article. Maybe if people who lost family members from MRSA were to sue the pants off of the CAFO owner and the government, then these people would think twice before making decisions that affect our health.

    Our health is the last thing on their minds. I say hit them where it hurts. $$$$$$

  23. Ira Johnson says:

    That might fall into the nuisance category and cafos are protected from that-makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? Someone needs to test that exception to the law and make a difference for everyone else.

  24. Mike says:

    What might fall into the nuisance catagory? My last article or the CAFOs?

    Are you saying “Protect the CAFOs, forget the little man”? If so, are you also saying that CAFOs are more important than your family’s health?

    Also explaing what you mean by “test the exception”.

  25. Ira Johnson says:

    Oh no, I am not protecting the cafo. I’m part of a group that has been fighting a proposed cafo for three years now-they still haven’t built. We need to do all we can to stop them from ruining our our health, our environment, our entire state….

    Someone needs to file the lawsuit and see if they can get the exception thing turned over. I believe that Bush signed the law the last week that protects cafos-sort of the slip it in hoping no one is paying attention. Obama is at least interested in protecting our environment. Maybe EPA won’t have their hands tied the next four years.

  26. Mike says:

    CAFOs got me into voting big time. I knew that McCain wanted to put a moratorium on CAFOs.
    But I never heard anything from Obama about CAFOs. What have you heard?

  27. Ira Johnson says:

    Not specifically on CAFOs, but Obama is an environmentalist in contrast to Bush. EPA and Fish and Wildlife are now better able to actually do their jobs.

  28. Randy says:

    Nicholas Kristof’s March 12 column suggesting that incidences of MRSA in Indiana were caused by hog farms is both sensational and incorrect.
    We are responsible for the safety of our workers and our communities – we live and work here too. The illnesses in Camden are unfortunate, but do not originate with the area’s hog farms.
    Our industry has funded a number of MRSA research projects, with no conclusive evidence linking a hog-to-human transmission of the virus. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), having contact with pigs does not increase one’s chance of getting MRSA. So, as Mr. Kristof suggests, the evidence is far from conclusive.
    This irresponsible commentary hasn’t added anything to the body of knowledge regarding the spread of MRSA. On the contrary, Mr. Kristof’s article has only created fear in our rural communities while shamelessly disparaging a vital industry.

    Randy

    Pork producer, Wabash, IN

  29. Randy:

    Have you reviewed the study at the following site?

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0004258

    While I am sure you will dismiss the findings, it is the beginning of research establishing yet another health hazard link between CAFOs and our environment and our health.

    It is not surprising that your industry funded studies that showed no “conclusive” evidence. That is like the defense paying an attorney to testify on his or her behalf. And, by the way, since the evidence is not “conclusive”, how is it then that you can make the following statement with certainty:

    “The illnesses in Camden are unfortunate, but do not originate with the area’s hog farms.”

    I also understand that anti-CAFO groups will have their own versions, but the CDC does have a webpage devoted to the topic. http://www.cdc.gov/cafos/

    Apparently the CDC finds it of enough importance to devote a discussion to CAFOs. The EPA also has devoted sites to the topic of CAFOs. http://www.epa.gov/region7/water/cafo/index.htm

    Many serious studies of disease began with evidence that was not conclusive. Although I am not an expert in the area of HIV/AIDS, I would imagine the first studies were also inconclusive as to what caused it and how it was spread. As studies became more refined, the evidence became conclusive that HIV was spread in a certain manner and by certain methods.

    What the livestock industry is trying to do is slide through as many of these huge operations as possible before the public wakes up and the studies confirm that CAFOs are hazardous to the air, land, and water quality of the public as well as individual and community health. So far, they have been terribly successful. Every day CAFOs are springing up throughout Indiana with little or no oversight. Sure, manure plans must be put into effect, but you will notice that Daniels (who is a major pusher of CAFOs) has eliminated IDEM’s enforcement branch. This will make it even more difficult to monitor these huge factory farms.

    North Carolina took them so seriously and had so many issues with them that they put a moratorium on them. The result, of course, was that the owners and operators simply find other states where the regulations are lax or non-existent.

    Mr. Kristof’s article is far from irresponsible; it shines the light on yet another area where CAFOs can cause damage. The article does not disparage a vital industry. The article raises issues about a certain method of raising livestock, not the entire industry.

    The livestock industry has existed for centuries – just not in the tragic form into which it is now morphing – all for the sake of profit and exporting more meat to countries such as China where the people are now moving up in economic status and will fall into the trap of a heavier meat-laden diet.

  30. Ira Johnson says:

    Here is another website with infomation that should be of interest.

    http://www.SCSC.k12.in.us//SHS_07-08?Index.htm

  31. Iceironman says:

    Ira, great article on MSRA…. Did I miss the part about staying out of hog houses or eating pork?

    Ira, are you telling me that water and its contents in NE Indiana move 50 ft downward in a day? Also, on your theory of this rapid movement of nutrients out of the root zone, could you and I go out and test soil. We would dig a pit with a back hoe, and take soil test levels of P and K. Now according to your theory, the top 8 inches or so (root zone) would contain a low(er) soil test level than that of any layers below. We could test every 8 inches down to say, 8 feet. I would bet you tht the first 8 inches would have higher test levels than 2 feet down. Would you take this bet Ira?

    I appreciate Charlotte actually looking into the EQIP programs and other devices already in place. And to your comment on my skills and knowledge, thank you, and to address your comment on blogging, hell, thats what Im doing now and no one really wants to dig deep to understand the reality of the cafo issues. We all just want to read a headline and comment on it like we are experts.

    Thank you, Iceironman, CPAg, CCA, SSC, TSP, CA, Member ASA, ASSA (all of which means nothing when people bring emotion to the table instead of facts)

    Now, if you will excuse me, Im going to go help feed the world.

  32. Ira Johnson says:

    I didn’t say down 50 feet. The water table is so high in our area that things enter the aquifer quickly and go, every which way that goes, at a faster than average rate.

    The figure is a quote from a qualified, licensed hydrogeologist who did extensive soil and aquifer studies in our county. Your bet would have to be with him.

  33. Iceironman says:

    Ira, Tell me his name and I will take that bet.

  34. Ice:

    Nice try. Classic switch the discussion by trying to divert attention from the real issue which is the fact that information is coming to light on a regular basis that CAFOs are harmful to the environment and to humans.

    I predict within the next few years more and more connections will be made between CAFOs and disease.

  35. Randy says:

    So, let’s curve the discussion to get your opinion on “how will we continue to feed this world” if you feel we are doing such a bad job at raising our animal proteins now – just what is YOUR answer? Anywhere but Indiana? Maybe outside of The United States? Maybe you support the HSUS and want all to go vegetarian?
    I will grant we need laws, we need (as an industry) to be held accountable, and we need to continue with testing, monitoring, educating, etc. But, unless you feel the only answer is vegen (in which case, we will just agree to not agree) then what is your view of the ideal situation?
    In our operation, we discourage growers to place more than 4000 to 8000 hogs in one area. Unless they have a really large acreage base, that 4 to 8K area is very easily managed to utilize the nutrients in a completely crop safe manor. The testing done on both the manure and the crop ground assures that we are applying only the nutrients that the crop will use during that growing season, or that crop rotation season, which is two years.

  36. Randy:

    The world does not need fed entirely with meat. You and many others are working from the assumption that more meat consumption is great, and that feeding the world requires feeding it with meat. I would expect that since you are in that business. But the feeding out of livestock is energy intensive and can be afforded only by the wealthier nations.

    You will notice that poorer countries rely more on alternative sources of meat protein such as fish. They also have a diet higher in consumption of vegetables.

    Here is a link to an article published last year in the New York Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/weekinreview/27bittman.html

    I hold no illusions about meat production and reliance on meat as the primary staple in the American diet. But to dismiss the value of a diet containing less meat and more vegetables is burying one’s head in the sand. Red meat has been shown to be linked to an increase in cancer:

    http://health.usnews.com/usnews/health/healthday/071211/high-meat-consumption-linked-to-heightened-cancer-risk.htm

    http://www.cancer.org/docroot/NWS/content/NWS_1_1x_Eating_Lots_of_Red_Meat_Linked_to_Colon_Cancer.asp

    Again, I am not saying everyone should go vegetarian – that was my choice, and I am happy with it. I do not spend my time trying to convince anyone to change unless a person asks me about why I am vegetarian, and then I will tell them my reasons. I stop with that – I can’t change people’s habits; they have to do that.

    To try to feed the world by increasing meat production is folly. Meat should be seen as a complement, not an end all to feeding the world. Focus should be placed on grain production for food purposes not feeding out purposes. Grains can be used much more efficiently by using them to create food items than to feed out livestock.

    You hit on an important point when you say that we need laws, but the problem is that the CAFOs are constructed in states that have little or no regulation initially. Then, after an explosion of CAFO construction, the public may finally get involved. But the laws are a mish-mash. Indiana has very few laws – if any – that regulate CAFOs. Every time a law gets proposed, the lobbying interests start in and the law is usually defeated.

    In addition, counties have been late coming to the issue – except for those in east central Indiana where CAFOs exist by the hundreds. These counties finally took action and passed laws. Other counties, such as Allen County where I live, where there are only a few CAFOs so far, do not have a clue as to what is happening.

    You also mention that owners are discouraged from putting more than 4,000 to 8,000 animals in confinement. But the restrictions are voluntary.

  37. Ira Johnson says:

    How do you sort the organisms, such as e-coli, from the nutrients in the liquid manure so as to only apply the nutrients? How does applying in the fall, on soils where the rains will wash it right on through the root zone, do anything other that get rid of manure?

  38. Iceironman says:

    Ira, it is simple physics and biology. If you are concerned about E coli on fall treated fields, dont be. E coli is only a problem when it hits fruits or vegtables and lives briefly on their surface. E coli doesnt really get along with cool tempetures. It is happy in our gut, not so much on the outside world (espesialy in the fall and winter. Ecoli is a problem when people dont wash their hands.

    The physics lesson comes from the fact that soil carries a charge, which is negative. The negative soil charge binds Potassium fert (manure) so it is only going to move with the soil, not to much in the soil solution. P is negative, however, it will adsorb to charged particles associated with the soil colloid or particulates. These two major nutrients found in manure become plant available through diffusion…. The lowering of concentration in the root zone from the absorbtion by the living plant. So, no plants, no real diffusion into soil solution, no real leaching.

    Ok, N, can move more rapidly through the soil profile. But these nutrients see their way into streams by way of erosion. There are three types of erosion, drip, rill and gully. If you would have looked into the Eqip program you would see that most farmers are now putting in filter strips and catches to stop erosion which carrys the soil into streams. This soil contains the nutrients, not the water so much.

    PS for all of you Glyphosate (roundup) haters. Glyphosate is has a positive charge, so guess what, It wont get into your well. It is bound up by the soil.

  39. Iceironman says:

    Charlotte, I would guess you are correct on MRSA being blamed on Cafos in the next few years. I would guess science to prove coffee is great for us, then it is bad for us, then returns to being great for us. Other finding from science will prove that alcohol is good for us, not good for us and finaly great for us. Then the great edible egg will be horrible for us, great for us and finaly cause cancer, but not really, and we should eat several a day, but not really because it causes skin disorders.

    Follow the money and the grants given to the researchers. I am not anti science, in fact I use it all of the time when it is PROVEN. Do you think PETA will fund college or independant researchers to tell them Cafos are sanitary? Maybe for one year. Just like the global warming scientist, if they say it doesnt exist, why would anyone fund them to continue researching it?

    Just remember, when it comes to some science, there are three types of lies

    LIES
    DAMN LIES
    AND STATISTICS or data scewed

  40. Ice:

    I think there is a difference between a disease being incubated and passed by animals (or humans) compared to a substance that may or may not be good for you. Research into the health benefits of certain foods, beverages, etc. is certainly different than transmission of a deadly bacteria.

    No one doubts anymore that HIV is transmitted in specific ways – something that escaped scientists in the early years. Now that the science has proven how HIV is transmitted, science will not go backward and say it really isn’t passed in those ways.

    If at some point science and studies show that MRSA is and can be incubated in swine (or other livestock) and then transmitted to humans, we won’t then turn around and say that it is passed in some other way. We know that TB is a communicable disease. No waffling on that fact. But I imagine it took years of study and research to determine this.

    If the evidence in the long-run shows MRSA is not transmitted by swine/livestock, then fine. But it does look like that future studies may show that this is becoming an issue.

    And, as I said to Randy, of course studies funded by pork producers will show that MRSA is not transmitted to humans. Duh!

  41. Randy says:

    It is NOT only studies funded by pork producers that show this – Duh! It is studies by health professionals (not professional bloggers) Perhaps some additional comments to the NYT will help you readers gather their own opinions.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/19/opinion/l19kristof.html?_r=1

  42. Randy:

    Perhaps we are reading different articles, and, by the way, I haven’t funded any studies. As I read the OPINION letters, not one said (other than yours) that MRSA could not and was not capable of being transmitted between humans and swine. It looks like they also – according to the editor’s note – had to edit your post because you didn’t know the difference between a virus and a bacterium. They referred to the “letter from Indiana” and yours was the only letter on the page from Indiana.

    The evidence is inconclusive – that means that it could happen or it could not happen. How do you counter the foreign studies that show the connection? By just ignoring them? I will almost bet you that the connection will be made with further studies in the next few years.

    The additional comments do nothing more than reinforce that the evidence is not conclusive, and they just support what I have written and the fact that MRSA is capable of living in swine. I suppose you will dispute that fact which was proven.

    Go back and read Kristoff’s article. It also gives citations to Dutch studies that show interesting figures about the incidence of MRSA in pig farmers – 760 times more likely than the general population to carry MRSA.

    You and others who believe that this just can’t be true for whatever reasons are going to have a rude awakening one of these days when the public finally wakes up and takes an active interest in the health and environmental hazards of CAFOs.

    By the way, a group I belong to is organizing a large public meeting about CAFOs and their hazards to be held this summer in Fort Wayne. I will keep you informed, and you are most welcome to attend and present your point of view.

  43. Ira Johnson says:

    Please post the info on the meeting when you have a date and time set. Thanks

  44. Ira Johnson says:

    How can ignore the fact that the e-coli found on the “inside” of the spinach was traced using DNA through the irrigation water directly to the cafo next door. It was not on the outside of the plant as a result of careless handling.

  45. Ira Johnson says:

    Corrected:

    How can anyone ignore the fact that the e-coli found on the “inside” of the spinach was traced using DNA through the irrigation water directly to the cafo next door. It was not on the outside of the plant as a result of careless handling.

  46. DVM says:

    I am a veterinarian and I was referred to this website. I read a lot of your articles on agriculture and just read down through your recent blogs here. I am not a blogger so I am not sure exactly how this all works but I am angry at much of what you are saying so I am going to respond to some of it. First of all I will respond to some of the discussion on MRSA and then other antibiotics and then some of Ira’s concerns about E. coli.

    MRSA
    First of all, Staph aureus is so common in the environment and on all animals and people that it could be considered part of the natural flora on your skin. That’s right; it would not surprise me to find it on everyone reading this and your pets! Staphylococcal bacteria are generally considered to be opportunist. Other commensal bacteria keep each other in check in some sort of a competitive environment. If the other normal flora is reduced or compromised, then a bacterium like Staph aureus (SA) is allowed to grow at will until it reaches a high enough population to cause disease (or the immune status of the patient is compromised). In hospital associated MRSA, one of the theories is that the environment is cleaned and disinfected to the point that all other bacteria are killed and the MRSA bacteria has become resistant to the disinfectants and then is allowed to overgrow. Another factor in HA MRSA is that after surgery, the patients becomes much more susceptible to infections (I do not know the mechanism). When I was in veterinary school in the late 70’s we had a serious problem with Salmonella infections in horses after they had abdominal surgery for colic. I will talk about enteric bacteria later.

    In community associated MRSA, where as many as 50% of a population are carrying the MRSA strains of Staph, there are usually activities that can be attributed to the spread of the bacteria in that community. Some of these would be like hygiene in a locker room or some sort of societal behavior that contributes to the spread of the bacteria.

    So what causes it to cause disease? In most cases of Staph aureus the patient has been immune compromised and or the skin integrity has been compromised by scratches or other injuries. In cats and dogs, it is usually set off by flees or allergies and a lot of self inflicted scratches. Oftentimes it is exacerbated by steroid treatment to reduce the scratching and irritation. Young pigs occasionally get a condition called ‘greasy pig’ that usually only affects 1-2% of pigs. Ironically it is usually in a high health-start up herd with new facilities that shouldn’t have any bacteria in the facilities. The theory is that these pigs have a lower immune status and/or the new facilities have some rough edges that cause scratches on the skin.

    Second, since Staph aureus is found in all species including pigs, dogs and people why would you jump to the conclusion that the people got the MRSA from the pigs and not their pets or other people? I have been around pigs all of my life and I honestly do not know of a single pork producer or employee that has ever had MRSA. Don’t you think that if your conclusion were correct that pork producers and people working around pigs would have a serious problem with this? Mr. Kristof implied that there was a much higher incidence in this group (760 times higher). The article that he got the 760 from was referring to the new strain-ST398. This strain was first identified in 2004 in the Netherlands. It was just identified in the US last year (that pretty much rules out CAFOs as the cause). The article said that when they found that strain in this population of pigs, it was 760 times more likely to be found in people associated with that area than in people in other areas. To a scientist, that means that the pigs harboring ST398 probably gave it to the people rather than visa versa. As far as the incidence in Camden, IN; it was probably more related to being a community associated strain. In fact, it may have just been a run of the mill Staph aureus and not MRSA as far as we know.
    Hospital associated MRSA has been around since the 1960’s. Community associated MRSA has been around since the 1980’s. There were very few CAFOs prior to 1980 going by EPAs definition of a CAFO being 1000 animal units (2500 pigs).

  47. DVM says:

    Antibiotics

    The following is from a web site entitled ‘The History of Antibiotic’

    Antibiotics are natural substances that are released by bacteria and fungi into the their environment, as a means of inhibiting other organisms – it is chemical warfare on a microscopic scale.

    In 1928, Sir Alexander Fleming observed that colonies of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus could be destroyed by the mold Penicillium notatum, proving that there was an antibacterial agent there in principle. This principle later lead to medicines that could kill certain types of disease-causing bacteria inside the body.
    At the time, however, the importance of Alexander Fleming’s discovery was not known. Use of penicillin did not begin until the 1940s when Howard Florey and Ernst Chain isolated the active ingredient and developed a powdery form of the medicine
    On May 25, 1948, Andrew J Moyer was granted a patent for a method of the mass production of penicillin.
    Four years after drug companies began mass-producing penicillin in 1943, microbes began appearing that could resist it.
    The first bug to battle penicillin was Staphylococcus aureus. This bacterium is often a harmless passenger in the human body, but it can cause illness, such as pneumonia or toxic shock syndrome, when it overgrows or produces a toxin.
    Now from what I learned in biology and veterinary school, the fact that bacteria were resistant to Penicillin was not from developing resistance, it is that fact that the metabolism of different bacteria lend themselves to be resistant or susceptible to various antibiotics that work by differing mechanisms. Penicillins fall under the classification of beta-lactams. The general rule of thumb is that penicillins work on gram positive cocci while another class of antibiotics may work well on gram negative rods. These are general rules of thumb that doctors and veterinarians go by but every doctor knows that bacteria do not read the book. That is why doctors do cultures and run sensitivity tests. I do believe that bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics. The medical profession says that 95% of antibiotic resistance (in humans) is from overuse of antibiotics in people. Still my guess is that there have been Staph aureus bacteria that have been resistant to penicillin since before penicillin was discovered. Since the primary antibiotic to treat is was penicillin, the ones that were not sensitive to it have become more prevalent.
    In other words methicillin resistant Staph aureus isn’t something that is new. Maybe the first MRSA bacteria were not even pathogenic. Different stains of bacteria and viruses change over time and sometimes become pathogenic. Pathogenic means that it causes disease. Most bacteria in the world are not pathogenic.

  48. DVM says:

    Bacteria
    Bactria are ubiquitous on the planet. They are everywhere. Most bacteria are good and necessary for life. Bacteria are even essential for digestion in your own digestive tract. Ira mentioned E. coli several times. E. coli is a normal part of the intestinal flora of all animals and because of that it can be found in all bodies of water on this planet. Some E. coli like O157 is pathogenic (I am not even sure that all O157 is pathogenic). Pathogenic coliforms will generally cause diarrhea and other GI symptoms but like any pathogenic bacteria can result in septicemia.
    When coliform bacteria are found in a water well, this is indicative of fecal contamination. IDEM will tell you that nearly all contaminated wells are the result of faulty septic systems and/or poorly constructed or very shallow wells. While many of these are blamed on CAFOs, the reality is that most are not. That is a fact. That is why Ice was so adamant about knowing the details of your contaminated well story. Nearly all livestock contaminated wells are from outdoor livestock and not CAFOs (I believe that you said this was near a large cattle farm-outdoor no doubt) but I am sure that there may be some exceptions.
    A modern well in most of Indiana will be 75-200 feet in depth and will be grouted in with bentonite clay so that water cannot shortcut the normal permeation of soil, clay, gravel and rock to get to the deeper aquifers that filter and clean up the water. Some of the older wells in the state are hand driven wells and may only be 15-20 feet deep and are not grouted in. These types of wells are the types that are usually contaminated in rural areas but most often from septic systems or from outdoor livestock production.

  49. DVM says:

    A properly constructed and operated confinement building has almost a zero chance of contaminating any water of any kind. The only chance on a modern swine farm comes during the application of manure. If it is injected properly it is the best fertilizer available. I have been an advocate for injecting for 20 years but there are a lot of reasons that farmers in different areas of the state have a difficult time injecting (heavy clay soils, rocky soils). As to your concerns about mobility of nutrients in the soil, I think Ice did a nice job of explaining that. I would say that the nitrogen in swine manure is less mobile and more stable that any of the commercial nitrogen forms because it is more bound in the organic form. Another fact that you may not know is that there is only enough manure in the state of Indiana to fertilize about 3.4% of Indiana’s cropland (IDEM number). So if you are concerned about nitrogen in the waterways, then harping on CAFOs only accounts for less than 4% of the problem. I do not like to see manure spread on top of the ground but that is the only way to spread poultry and cattle manure. In my experience, most top spreading by swine farms is by the smaller CFO’s or unregulated farms. Regulated farms are supposed to incorporate the manure in 48 hrs and must get a special permit to apply on frozen ground.
    It seems very hypocritical of the organic proponents to support manure as fertilizer and yet be critical of the livestock industry for using manure as fertilizer. Ira, you are right about coliform contamination of organically grown vegetables. These coliforms probably did come from livestock as they are using manure water for irrigation since organics must only use manure and compost for fertilizer. Since most vegetable crops are grown in California and southern states so they have a longer season, they also must irrigate through the summer. (Most of this irrigation is done in the furrow rather that through sprinklers.) The news media does not want to taint the reputation of the organic industry but they are not hesitant to point fingers at livestock. All of these problems in lettuce, peppers and tomatoes have been in organic production.

  50. DVM says:

    So why are antibiotics fed to livestock anyway? It is not because of the filth and overcrowding that opponents commonly cry. There are several reasons. 1. For disease prevention and/or treatment in periods of stress like weaning or transporting and mixing of pigs. 2. For prevention and/or treatment in time periods when you know that your animals normally seroconvert (go through a disease cycle) to a specific virus or bacterial disease. This is farm specific and is diagnosed by blood sampling with a veterinarian. 3.. For growth promotion. For some reason feeding low levels of some antibiotics causes a faster growth rate and increased feed efficiency. In other words it takes fewer pounds of feed to gain a pound. I do not know the exact mechanism but may have something to do with that competitive advantage for certain enteric bacteria over others.
    The amount of antibiotics fed to pigs is considerably less than it was 20 yrs ago. Many stages of a pig’s life have no antibiotics fed and many farms do not feed antibiotics. This decision is usually between the herd veterinarian and the producer. Antibiotics were banned in Denmark about 10 yrs ago unless they had a veterinary prescription. When they have looked at the antibiotic usage in Denmark since the ban, the amount of antibiotics used is almost the same as it was before the ban because now they are treating more disease and using the antibiotics at therapeutic levels instead of lower levels. Danish farmers now complain that they now have much more enteric disease problems (especially in young pigs). This issue is much more complicated than just banning their use.
    Today we control many of our health problems with vaccines and all in/ all out pig flows. As in any population of animals, viruses and bacteria affect the animals at certain ages. When pigs are housed with multiple age groups, the younger animals pick up disease agents from the older animals as they seroconvert. By strict age segregation, there are no older counterparts to get sick from. Most farmers try to fill a barn on a site with one or two weeks worth of pigs after the barn has been totally emptied, washed and disinfected. When the pigs move in it is like moving into a bran new barn.
    So why not use probiotics or other alternatives to antibiotics. This is an area of intense research right now. Probiotics are yeast, fungal or bacterial cultures that are intended to improve health in some ways. Go back and look at the first line that I included on the history of antibiotics. Antibiotics are byproducts of yeast, mold or bacterial growth! We recently tried feeding a bacteriocin that was supposed to be specific for a certain enteric bacteria.
    Shouldn’t antibiotics be reserved to treat disease in people? Yes, I believe they should and I believe that they are! We use very few antibiotics that are used in people. In pigs, approximately 80% of the antibiotics used in feed are the following three: tylosin, tetracyclines and BMD. (Because these are more concentrated and used at low inclusion rates compared to others with much higher inclusion rates, it is probably over 90%- I can explain more detail if necessary). Tylosin has never been used in people. The tetracyclines were developed shortly after penicillin and are a very ‘old’ drug that is seldom used in human medicine today (in fact if a doctor was to prescribe a first generation tetracycline, I would probably get another doctor!) The base of BMD is bacitracin and something similar to salicylic acid (aspirin). There are many others including Sulfas and penicillin (but no second generation and beyond). Some of the second and third generation cephalosporins and penicillins are used as injectables for treatment purposes but human medicine is up to fifth and even sixth generation drugs. Veterinary medicine only gets the left over’s as they have to undergo years of withdrawal and safety testing.

  51. DVM says:

    While some people seem to think that we need to go back to free-range outdoor production that would be an environmental disaster. To be quite frank, any animal that is outdoors shits outdoors and there is no control over it from there. Despite Michael Pollans’ assertions that cattle will spread their manure all over the pasture, cattle crap where the water is. Pigs crap around the feed and water and I don’t know about chickens. Pigs are probably the most destructive animal on the planet. If put in a woods, they will kill every tree in 10-15 yrs (not create a savanna as Michael Pollan says). In Indiana it is illegal to house any livestock outside unless you can maintain at least 50% vegetation. Anyone who has raised pigs will tell you that is probably impossible. It is my understanding that chickens will kill off grass in about 2 days.
    Despite what you have read, CAFOs came about to protect the environment and they are also more humane and better for the animals. Charlotte, I would be careful in referencing the NYTimes and other papers or even activists web sites. Remember it is the papers goal to sell papers and not necessarily report a balanced view. Activist groups are a business that raises money by creating a crisis.(see Patrick Moore’s website ‘Greenspirit’) What I am telling you will not make the print because it isn’t sensational. It is just the truth. I am wondering if we need to start suing people for liable who make comments without going to the farm for a visit. It is true that there are bad livestock producers. They give all of us a black eye but I can assure you in the swine industry they do not represent the majority. And before you mention North Carolina; that was 20-25 yrs ago and does not represent today’s technology or farming techniques. Those of us who are engaged in raising pigs are pretty proud of what we do. We care about our pigs. We care about the environment. We care about food safety. We care about our water. We care about our communities just as much as you do. I am convinced that if you opponents would come out to the farm for a visit, most of your fears would go away. We will be hauling manure in a few weeks and I would love to show you how we do it!
    Get out of your chair and go visit a modern farm. I am sure that there are farms in your area that you could visit, including Randy’s. This is an open invitation to anyone reading this. You can come to my farm or Randy’s or I will personally find you a farm near you.

  52. Iceironman says:

    Thanks DVM, but why would you use facts on this site? Emotion is soo much better.

  53. DVM:

    I understand staph is all over the planet. I cut my finger two years ago and ended up with an infection that required a month’s worth of antibiotics to get rid of it.

    The point of the article is a discussion about MRSA, which is staph that has become resistant to antibiotics. I realize as a DVM, you are much more learned than I am in the area of diseases in animals.

    However, the fact that MRSA – not regular staph bugs – has been found in swine is new. The issues in North Carolina were so serious that the state passed a 10-year moratorium on CAFOs. How do you explain that? Uninformed panic? Or the realization that CAFOs are hazardous?

    As to cows and pigs pooping wherever they want to – aren’t they supposed to be fenced in and kept away from the creeks and rivers? I believe I read or was told that pastures must be fenced to prevent the animals from getting into the water or near it – thus keeping the feces out of the water. If farmers aren’t doing that and it is the law, maybe they should be reported.

    After all, shouldn’t farmers be required to follow the law?

    How are CAFOs more humane? How do they protect the environment? Be realistic about why CAFOs came about – it is called profit. CAFOs can concentrate a larger number of animals in one location, and the animals can be controlled. CAFOs take fewer workers which also increases the profit margin.

    I was married to a farmer although it has been some time ago, and my great-grandfather was a farmer. Of course, he truly raised his animals the old-fashioned way. I know what a farm looks like, and I know what CAFOs look like – we have a number here in Allen County.

    As to identifying a new strain – science is constantly identifying new strains of infections, etc. I guess I don’t understand how you think that takes CAFOs out of the equation since the strain could very well have existed but just hadn’t been isolated.

    You make my point on feeding the antibiotics to livestock. While conditions such as overcrowding may require antibiotics, you give three reasons for administering antibiotics. Are your reasons based on studies showing that the animals need the antibiotics at those points? Or are they given as a preventative measure? And why the necessity to give them just to make them gain weight?

    That is a perfect example of the industry taking action to increase earlier market weight and profit, not to protect the environment as you stated.

  54. Randy says:

    Charlotte;

    “The issues in North Carolina were so serious that the state passed a 10-year moratorium on CAFOs. How do you explain that? Uninformed panic? Or the realization that CAFOs are hazardous?”

    I can offer some insight on this question as I was in NC several times during the late 80s, which was well into their expansion period. North Carolina was not prepared, from an environmental standpoint, for the rapid expansion of swine and chicken units that went in. This was also the beginning of large animal feeding units. NC was at that time a model for new design and technology in animal feeding units. All construction was new, all farms were new – not just expanded, current farms like we see here in Indiana.

    I was on many of these farms during that time. Nearly every one of those farms used lagoons as a nutrient storage system. I was on several farms that were 3 to 5 years old and the farmers were telling me they had yet to pump out the lagoons. I was shocked. I have run lagoon systems since 1970. They are not a net loss system if they are working properly. You must need to pump them out to crop land. So why did they not have too? They were telling me because of evaporation. But that was not true. I dug into the banks of their lagoons and was again shocked to find that it was a high sand content soil. They said to me, no this is clay. But I know clay…this was not. Here in N.Central Indiana, where we farm, if I go down 18 inches, I hit some of the hardest clay around. A grey, hard clay that will take two dozers just to cut a strip off the top of it.

    NC was not ready for the rapid expansion, they were not ready for the newer, larger units, and at that time, they were a tremendously poor state, Ag wise, due to the crumbling of the tobacco industry. Labor was cheap and jobs were needed. All this fueled the animal industry expansion. All this later came to light, the units were already built and had already done the damage – thus the moratorium. (which is now lifted sense NC now has an IDEM in place with laws and guidelines)

    Indiana has been a leader in the county as far as our IDEM goes. We have had animal feeding regulations in place sense the 1970’s. Certainly they must always be changing and updating, but Indiana has regulated that industry. There is absolutely NO comparison between NC and IN as far as AFUs go.

  55. Randy says:

    You make so many references to “profit” in your posts. You seem as though profit is a bad thing to you? Are we not allowed to make a “profit” ? Is that a terrible thing to you, that farmers actually make money feeding you? I assume you are one of these that feel it is your God given right to eat and it is my job to feed you – and how dare I want to send my kids to college, or live in a house even half as nice as the one you enjoy?

    Cutting corners to make a “profit” is wrong. But I do NOT cut corners. Agriculture is the only industry that must purchase all our inputs retail and sell our product wholesale. Due to people just like YOU that feel we must NOT make a profit- America has a cheap food policy. We do not allow the farms to make a decent amount of money, so farms must use “economy of scale” to remain in business. Sure, my grandfather fed out the pigs from 50 sows – outside, in the weather and mud and my dad helped him. Based on that (2 people for 50 sows) I would need 40 employees. I have 8. Based on what you want from us, you would be using 70 percent of your income to feed yourself. Instead, Americans are using only 10 percent…some of the lowest amount of money spent on food in the world.
    This is all a very complicated issue and not nearly as “black and white” as you seem to like to make it.

  56. Iceironman says:

    Why do we use the word humanly when dealing with animals.

  57. DVM says:

    Charlotte, I was not referring to run of the mill Stapholococcal bacteria. I was referring to Staph aureus. Obviously you either did not read my material or you did not understand my points. Hospital Associated MRSA has been present since the 1960’s. Staph aureus was found to be resistant to Penicillin within 3 yrs after Penicillin was introduced on the market (1943). Much of my point was that this discussion is far beyond those with an internet achieved degree and should be left to microbiologists and doctors who understand the physiology involved.

    You also may have missed the connection between antibiotics and probiotics. Health food people and organic proponents often praise and encourage the use of probiotics and yeasts and dirivitives of yeasts. Yet yeasts, molds and bacteria are the very things that produce antibiotics so if antibiotics are bad it would seem to reason that yeasts, molds and other bacteria are bad. I guess I have found another hypocrisy.

    I also take note of your bait and switch techniques. Can’t argue the points so you divert the discussion away to ‘profit’. Shame on you. This will also bury all of my effort in writing my earlier responses so no one will read them.

    I am very serious about the invitation to visit a modern farm. You seem upset that IDEM approves them and polititians fail to pass more legislation. The reason is simple; all we have to do is get them to visit a farm and all of their fears go away. It is pretty easy to rant and rave and be critical when all you know is the crap on the internet. This includes all of the issues we are under attack about including the environment, animal welfare, and yes even odor.

  58. DVM:

    It isn’t bait and switch. You posit that CAFOs protect the environment, take better care of the animals, and do good things. I am saying that the only reason we have CAFOs is to condense more animals into a smaller area. This raising of meat animals in a smaller, confined area is simply to increase profits. Don’t tell me you are going to say that isn’t true.

    And please don’t spout untruths about helping out the environnment or taking better care of those piggies by constructing CAFOs. Talk about bait and switch!

    If it isn’t to increase the number of animals thus raising the profits made, then let’s go back to non-CAFO days. You know full well CAFOs allow a larger number of animals to be raised in a smaller space which in turn increases the profit.

    As to the probiotics and antibiotics – no hypocrisy on my part. Probiotics means “for life.” Antibiotics means “against life.” Most antibiotics today are chemically modified from the natural state and are used to combat infections caused by bacteria. Are probiotics created to fight infections? No, they are dietary supplements that assist by conferring a health benefit if taken in the appropriate quantities.

    The only health benefit to an antibiotic is its destruction of unwanted bacteria that cause infections and illnesses. How do you even equate the two in the same breath?

  59. DVM says:

    I’m sorry Charlotte. You are obviously a very intelligent, well read individual but you really have been misled and need to visit a modern pig farm. I will stand by my word.
    I come from a pig raising family. My grandfather, my father and 3 of my uncles were pig farmers. So I have grown up with the transition from outdoor pigs to todays modern farms. We had all of our pigs outside in woods and pastures and then concrete feeding floors up until Dad built his first confinement barn in 1970. He did not build it for profit, although that may have ultimately been the result. He did it to get the pigs out of the slop and filth and so that he could work inside in the winter in shirt sleeves. He did it so he would not have to go around with a torch and axe to thaw out and chop out gates and barn doors. He did it so that he didn’t have a sow get out of her pen and farrow out in the snow or ditch and lose all of her litter. He did it so that his boars didn’t go sterile in the heat of the summer and none of his sows farrow in the fall. He did it so that he would not have to loose half of his herd like he did in a blizzard when I was about 5 yrs old.
    Those early barns were not built as well as they are today and the ventilation was not the best but it was still better that what we had for years. I took care of the farrowing house all through high school and I sure liked it that I didn’t have to clean out sow huts after wrestling practice. Was that a CAFO? No, but that was the size of operation that it took to raise a family and if you were successful, send your 4 kids to college.
    Today a CAFO is defined as 1000 animal units which is 2500 market size pigs. The bare minimum size of operation today to make a living would be a 300 sow farrow to finish operation and would include growing your own grain for feed. That size of operation would market about 6000 pigs per year and would be a CAFO. That size of operation today is quickly becoming a dinosaur because you work your butt off for minimum wage. Those people are facing the reality of getting out of business with facilities that can not be sold or spending millions to get bigger.
    So if your definition of a profit is making a living, then I guess you are partly right.

  60. Randy says:

    And please don’t spout untruths about helping out the environnment or taking better care of those piggies by constructing CAFOs. Talk about bait and switch!

    If it isn’t to increase the number of animals thus raising the profits made, then let’s go back to non-CAFO days. You know full well CAFOs allow a larger number of animals to be raised in a smaller space which in turn increases the profit.

    Now – how in the world do you think raising pigs in a completely controlled environment, with an enclosed, sealed, manure system that allows ZERO discharge into our environment could NOT be more environmentally friendly than raising them outside in pastures? First of all, if we went back to pasture raising, with the amount of animal protein we consume, think of the amount of land base we would need. ( I know.. you will say we should not eat this much animal protein ) Even if you do keep your animals out of the water ways like the law says, the hogs will destroy the grass and you will have soil and manure run off. You are not being realistic to help solve any problems here.
    Years ago, when nearly every farm had a few hogs, cattle etc. Farmers did not haul manure to out lying fields, they hauled to the one field that had high ground and was close to the barn. This caused very high phosphorus rates in that one field. Now, with our IDEM regulations, we are required to soil test every field we apply too, test our manure, then only apply to agronomic rates that the plants will use. That seems like an improvement to the environment to me.
    In the older days, farmers used dry spreaders and surface applied the manure to those fields closest to the barn. Now, due to regulations, we must incorporate our manure with in 24 hours and we must spread that manure over many more acres to achieve that agronomic rate. Again, more environment friendly.

    Yes – we place a lot more animals in the barns, what is your point?? Are banks not bigger than they used to be? Are our schools not bigger than they used to be? Wal-Mart? CVS? Lowes? on and on. This is economy of scale. Fewer than 1 percent of our population wants to raise food (farm) Why do you feel you can sit there and dictate to us what we need to do to do our jobs correctly? I live on the farm that my hogs are on. I drink from the same well as my hogs drink from. My kids play in the fields I raise my crops on and fertilize with my hog’s manure. We have done this for now seven generations. You do not even come close to caring as much as I do about our environment and leaving it better off than we found it.
    I know I will not change your mind on this subject – you are clearly as passionate in your feelings against my industry as I am for it – but my hope is that I am showing your readers there are three sides to this story and clearly it is one that they need to think all the way through before reaching a decision.

  61. Ira Johnson says:

    You call it “zero discharge” and yet the liquid manure is taken and spread over 1000’s of acres. IDEM allows a leakage from the lagoons in it’s “zero discharge” that still amounts to hundreds of gallons being discharged right through the liner of the lagoon.

  62. Randy says:

    Ira;
    We are strictly regulated on the amount of manure we can apply per acre. The formula will take into account the crop, the yield of the crop and soil type. (Ice can give you more details if you need) But, for example, for our soil types and current crop and yield history, we can apply about 8000 gallon of manure per acre. To put that into something your readers can equate to: If we get a one inch rain, and we collected the total water of that rain over a surface acre of parking lot, the amount of water that comes in that one inch rain, is 27,154 gallons. There for, we are only allowed to apply basically what amounts to 1/3 of an inch of rain over an acre. We then incorporate that INTO the soil (bury it) and that manure attaches to the soil (again, ICE can help with all these details) and you would have little to no run off into streams. I only hedge on the little to no comment, because you can certainly make up scenarios in which we have slopes that make water travel more, or we have heavy rain events right after application etc.
    The Zero discharge is coming directly from the production unit, not from “non-point” discharge areas.
    Now – let’s talk about your production unit of Ft Wayne.
    Documented CSO discharges directly into the rivers of Ft Wayne in the amounts of 1 to 2 BILLION gallons of untreated human waste, human bacteria, human pathogens, chemicals, oil, industrial waste and toxic materials…. point source direct into the river. Nearly any time you have a rain event of 1/2 inch or more… that’s a lot of xxit.
    All you need to do is add some money to everybody’s sewer bill and let’s get this problem fixed right up… so we can stop polluting our rivers.
    You don’t want care that much about the river when it means more money out of your pocket. So lets go after a non point source from farmers, even though that is clearly NOT the majority of the problem, right? We are small in numbers and very easy targets.

  63. Iceironman says:

    But Randy, it is so much more fun picking on cafos. One other point about that 8000 gallons of manure—–90+ % is generaly water. Not near as bad as one might think

  64. The style of writing is very familiar . Have you written guest posts for other bloggers?

  65. Jessa says:

    It is truly appalling the miss-information people are spreading in the comments above. It is so bad that I suspect that several of your are puppets for the CAFO industry. You have given factually incorrect information such as the definition of CAFO (CONFINEMENT animal feeding operation – it has nothing to do with the numbers of animals). You also obviously know little to nothing about pastured base farming, how animals graze, proper grazing management, how small a farm can be and still support a family income, spread of disease issues, pasture regeneration issues, etc.

  66. Bob says:

    Jessa,
    I am in agreement with you 100%. We have many small farmers in our area that have figured out how to make a good living for their families by pasturing their animals. One in particular has done a million dollars worth of business in the past year. He is one of many who are treating the environment and those who live around him with respect. I recently read an article that said if we ate the recommended meat per person per day, we wouldn’t need half the meat produced in this county. And it would taste good.

    I’m sure the cafo number statement because of Indiana’s definition for a cafo, a cfo, etc…. and yet we know that it really is the “confinement” that makes it any of those.

  67. Iceironman says:

    I think Jessa is a puppet for pasture raised animals and the organic market. Is that fair to say?

    Bob, who is this guy? And, dont tell Obama this rich guy is making money on the backs of the poor disadvataged animals. That million will be half.

    Just think bob, if we didnt eat meat at all, we wouldnt need to pasture animals at all. Damn, 67 posts and we have reached a conclusion, and such an obvious answer.

  68. Iceironman says:

    And Jessa, please do inform me on how many pasture animals it takes to support my family of 6. Because Im pretty sure we will come to different conclusions. But if is like 100 acres and a few cows, I think we all need to quite our jobs and live the good life.

  69. Bob says:

    Charlotte,

    I think IDEM had some sort of press release this morning related to the information on this website:

    http://76.12.159.91/2009/04/30/swine-flu-campaign-close-animal-factories/

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