Since I am a semiretired dairy farmer with over a half-century experience and have been watching the development of the mega farm idea since our OSU School of Agriculture and ODA’s Commissioner Fred Dailey first stated to push for them, I feel competent in pointing out the flaws in their existence.
The extremely large number of cows and the tremendous amount of manure to be managed is an awesome task, especially if it is thrust on dairymen who are used to a more reasonable size operation. The animal waste is a burden, not a benefit as on smaller dairy farms.
We use rotational grazing. The cows harvest some of their own food and fertilize the fields. This is much better technology then hauling the feed in from many miles around, digging a great big hole in the ground, calling it a lagoon and filling it with liquid animal waste to become a nuisance and possible health hazard, especially when it is sprayed or spread on the fields – often too heavily.
Fresh and partially composted manure is much better for the living soil and much less likely to wash into streams and rivers.
Also just as the large cotton plantations of the 19th century could not exist without the exploitation of slave labor, mega dairies cannot exist without cheap labor and the exploitation of the environment.
The very fact that the idea of mega farms was born and is being nourished by schools of agriculture, the government and an insurance company that calls itself the largest farm organization should be a warning to all that there is big money interest behind this movement and that many difficulties lay ahead as we are being lied to by our experts.
Fort Jennings, Ohio