See New Year's Eve video of bulldozed houses, closed SMD barns.
December 14 - Press Release
Groups Call on State of Michigan to Shake Up Agriculture Practices
East Lansing, MI – A diverse group of faith, farming, conservation, community and food organizations today called on the Michigan Agriculture Commission to reassess and revamp some of the state’s most controversial livestock farming practices. The seventeen organizations called for a complete reassessment of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Generally Accepted Agriculture Management Practices, or GAAMPs regarding use of liquid livestock wastes and concentration of facilities. The organizations specifically ask the state officials to give “due consideration” of impacts of these practices on agricultural communities and the environment, as well as on individual operations.
- Adrian Dominican Sisters, Program for Justice Peace, and Corporate Responsibility
Nov 28 - Lagoons at SMD 2 along US-127 appear very full.
Aug 15 - SMD manure discharge into Medina Drain, tributary of Bean Creek. Details from DEQ email 8/15/11: "Friday afternoon there was a break at the pivot of the irrigation sprayer in the corn field west of Ingall Hwy. An unknown amount of liquid reached the beginning of the N Medina Drain. They immediately dammed up the drain at three separate points downstream, including at the field, downstream of Ingall Hwy and at the farthest point where any of the liquid reached downstream of Ingall. They called us late Fri morning and we were down there to observe that afternoon. They contained and pumped liquid throughout Friday and Saturday and either applied the liquid to approved fields or placed it back in lagoons. By Saturday night most of the work was done. Sunday they did some final flushing of the drain using clean water with contracted trucks from Leas Farms. The trucks were triple rinsed and filled with clean water for the flushing. Downstream of the flushing the water was again pumped out and field applied. Once the flushing was complete we approved the removal of the temporary dams and all is complete to our satisfaction at this point."
weekend of Aug 12-14 - Southern Michigan Dairies incident: A neighbor reported to ECCSCM that SMD tankers were hauling and discharging liquid into the North Medina Drain, Ingalll Hwy, beginning on Fri Aug 12, and continuing all weekend. North Medina Drain is a tributary of Bean Creek. ECCSCM photos on Sunday Aug 14 show a tanker dumping water directly into the Drain. A tractor with pump and another semi are in the field near a center-pivot irrigation system near the head of Medina Drain. Did manure discharge to Medina Drain? No report from DEQ yet on that.
early June 2011 - fields are finally drying, lagoons are very full. Millions of gallons of manure will soon be sprayed in our watersheds, all draining to Lake Erie, already contaminated with excess nurients.
March 2, 2011 - DEQ and Michigan Attorney General's Office files an Administrative Consent Order with Southern Michigan Dairies, the subsidiary of Rabo Agrifinance which took over the 3 Vreba-Hoff CAFOs in November, 2010. The ACO requires SMD to pay $100,000 as partial payment of Vreba-Hoff fines owed, requires SMD to empty and close the satellite lagoon on Packard Rd by Sept. 30, 2011, as well as close the failed concrete lagoon at SMD 1 (formerly V-H 1). The ACO also requires notification if any potential buyer is "involved with Wilhemus van Bakel personally or any of his business entities, including but not limited to: Vreba-Hoff Dairy, LLC; Vreba-Hoff Holding, LLC; Vreba-Hoff Dairy Development; the Van Bakel Group, or Nova Lait, LLC. The DEQ reserves the right to leave whole the Judgment Liens...should SMD transfer Dairies I, II, or III ...to a van Bakel or Vreba-Hoff affiliated entity." See the full ACO document.
Superbugs – an important national public health issue, including a recent editorial, "The High Cost of Cheap Meat," in the New York Times, June 2, 2011. Also, read the full EMU study, “Antibiotic Resistance, Gene Transfer, and Water Quality Patterns Observed in Waterways near CAFO Farms and Wastewater Treatment Facilities,” which used data from water tests in our watersheds. EMU researchers found multi-drug resistant bacteria in water near CAFOs here: “Our results indicate that CAFO farms not only impair traditional measures of water quality but may also increase the prevalence of multi-drug-resistant bacteria in natural waters.”
Feb 10, 2011 - Is Rabo/Southern Michigan Dairies selling former Vreba-Hoff equipment, tractors? See the trucks loading up at the facility on US-127 on our ECCSCM's YouTube channel.
Feb 2011 - Manure application on snow and frozen ground continues, at great risk to our headwater streams of Lake Erie. See article in this month's Newsletter about other states that prohibit this practice; and see it happening now, as usual, in Michigan.