Thanks to author Stephen Stuebner for the excellent article on dairy problems in the Magic Valley (HCN, 4/15/02: Raising a stink). I was raised on an irrigated dairy farm (70 head of Holsteins) in the Orchard Valley area south of Wendell, Idaho, and still have family there. During visits over the last 10 or 15 years, I have become increasingly concerned about the odor and groundwater effects of the large dairies that have moved into the region. Stuebner's article does a fine job of detailing the major concerns, public reaction, and dairy farmer point of view, although I wish he had given more detail on the economic impact of the dairy industry, and on the measured pollutant levels. Those who are concerned that raising the bar on environmental protection will drive dairies out of the region should look to California, whence many of these dairies came. The dairy industry is thriving and growing in California. Those who stayed were the ones who came to grips with air and water quality regulations. Guess what Idaho got?
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