The Suwannee River Water Management District has announced a continuation of a subsidy program to encourage dairy farmers to conserve water and reduce nutrients (see reproduced announcement at end of this post.)
OSFR has published two earlier posts regarding this dairy subsidy. This year the amount has gone up from $1.4 million to $1.5 million dollars of taxpayer money.
What this amounts to is that our state agency issues a permit to a dairy which allows them to pollute, and then gives them money to pollute less. Our state also issues permits to withdraw free water, and then pays the permit holder money to withdraw less free water.
The Gainesville Sun wrote an editorial about this on June 20, 2015, with an appropriate satirical cartoon by Jake Fuller, who enthusiastically gave OSFR permission to reproduce. Read our post here, with a link to the Sun editorial.
Then-president of OSFR, Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson is quoted extensively in this editorial:
“I’m pleased that the state recognizes dairy farms’ need to reduce their nitrate loading,” Malwitz-Jipson wrote in an email. “However, allowing our taxes to pay for their fixes is a lot like corporate welfare. These are not small farms; these large farms have created large wastes, FDEP should be holding them accountable to their pollution contributions to our watersheds. Large-scale farming should be responsible farmers and deal with their wastes as any other business would be required to do so.”
Our second post is entitled Back to the Question of Polluters & Public Interest, where we contend that polluting the river is in the interest of the polluter, not the public. In this post, a water district engineer is quoted, saying that public funding will be used “…because of the public interest in protecting the area’s springs and rivers.” So, if cleaning up the river (at taxpayer expense) is in the public interest, where was the public interest when issuing the permit to pollute?
Would not a simpler, cheaper and more logical solution be to not issue the permit unless the new conservation and nutrient-reducing requirements were first met?
Of interest also might be the fact that diary farmers dumped 43 million gallons of milk on the ground this year, due to a milk glut. Also, the “herd retirement program” resulted in a $52 million lawsuit settlement for cow killing to control prices. This is in addition to $11.2 million in subsidies paid to diaries by the U.S. government this year, plus plans to buy $20 million in stockpiled cheese to control prices.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Katelyn Potter, Communications Director
Suwannee River Water Management District 386.362.1001 or 800.226.1066 (FL) www.mysuwanneeriver.com
Dairy Farmers Have Opportunity To Save And Protect Water With District Cost Share Program
LIVE OAK, FLA., Nov. 29, 2016 – Local dairy farmers will have an opportunity to save and protect water through the Suwannee River Water Management District’s (District) dairy operations cost-share assistance program.
Through the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) state springs grant program, $1.5 million has been allocated to provide cost-share assistance for up to 75% of improvement costs to qualifying dairies within the district. Applications for the program open November 30, 2016.
“This program illustrates the continued commitment of the District and its agricultural partners to conserve water and reduce nutrient loads,” said Noah Valenstein, executive director for the District. “We are thankful to Governor Scott and DEP for allocating this funding to our district and its water users.”
The intent of the cost-share program is to fund projects that achieve one or more of the following objectives: (1) increase wastewater storage to at least 30 days; (2) install manure solids separation/recycling equipment; or (3) install advanced wastewater treatment systems for additional nutrient separation and conversion to more stable forms. To qualify for the cost-share, interested dairies are encouraged to submit an application no later than close of business on January 20, 2017.
“Our area’s dairy farmers continually seek ways to conserve water and reduce nitrogen use on their own,” said Darrell Smith, director for the division of agriculture and projects with the District. “This program creates additional opportunities for water conservation for our agricultural producers.”
For more information or get a copy of the application, contact Justin Garland, Hugh Thomas or Darrell Smith at (386) 362-1001.
The mission of the Suwannee River Water Management District is to protect and manage water resources to support natural systems and the needs of the public. The District holds true to the belief of water for nature, water for people.
For more information about the District, visit www.mysuwanneeriver.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter, search @SRWMD.