Lee Mielke is well known in national dairy circles for his radio and print news reports on the dairy business. This week in his widely read “Mielke Market Weekly” he reported on the battle between dairy farmers and the EPA:
Back on the home front; dairy producers in Washington State got some undeserved treatment from the Environmental Protection Agency. I talked about it in the July 15 Dairy Radio Now broadcast with Gerald Baron, executive director of Save Family Farming, headquartered in Bellingham, Washington.
Baron said farmers across the country have had their issues with the EPA but this problem in region 10, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska, has been a major problem for a long time.
It focuses on an EPA nitrate study completed in 2013 that Baron says “points the finger at current dairy operations for nitrate in ground water that we know has been there for many years, based upon previous farm practices.”
The EPA sought to place the blame on dairy farmers, Baron said, with a study that every science expert who has looked at it, and there have been 15 to 20 nationally recognized experts, have called the study “false.”
“Worse than that,” added Baron, “many of the experts said the study was intentionally false.” He said the experts believe the study “set about to prove that dairy farmers were responsible (for the nitrates) when the data simply does not show that.”
Baron said they hope President Trump’s new regional administrator to the district will be helpful in resolving the issue and has showed promise that he might however Baron says the administrator’s staff has “overwhelmed him.” “The administrator is unwilling to allow a peer review, a real science review that this study never had and that’s what we’re complaining about.”
Other national farm groups are taking interest in the case, Baron says, especially in the dairy community, and are working with the Washington State Dairy Federation to “get the EPA to take action on this. We want them to retract the study and call in a peer review for this study that never occurred,” he concluded. More details can be found at www.savefamilyfarming.org.