State Beefs Up Mega-Farm Checks

LEWIS COUNTY - Five inspectors added after catastrophic manure spill at dairy
calendar icon 13 August 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Twice the number of state inspections will be done on mega-farms this fiscal year compared to the previous year, two years after a massive manure spill at a Lewis County dairy farm that fouled 20 miles of the Black River and killed 375,000 fish. The state expects to inspect 122 of 611 farms large enough to be regulated as a "concentrated animal feeding operation," Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis said in a statement. There are nine farms in the Capital Region.

To pick up the pace, the state has added five farm inspectors for a total of 18. The state also expects to have engineering certifications for all mega-farm manure holding areas in place by February 2009.

It was a manure-filled lagoon at the 5,000-head Marks Dairy Farm in Lowville that gave way Aug. 10, 2005, releasing several million gallons of manure into the Black River.

In 2006, the dairy agreed to a DEC enforcement order that included a $700,000 fine, as well as $1.5 million in upgrades to its storage system, a conservation easement and construction of two parking areas to provide fishing access to the river.

Across the state, there are 147 large-scale farms with more than 700 animals and 464 medium-scale with between 200 to 700 animals. In the Capital Region, there are three large-scale farms in Washington County, two in Saratoga County, one each in Albany and Rensselaer counties, and two in Columbia County, according to DEC.

Most are dairy farms, with a handful of chicken, duck, turkey, swine or horse farms included.

Source: TimesUnion

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