In light of recent posts on this blog regarding spray irrigation of manure, it was interesting to read an article headlined DNR’s Moroney sees more sensible, respectful agency in Agri-View (posted Feb. 28, 2013) reporting on recent comments made by DNR Deputy Secretary Matt Moroney.
First, the article states, “The DNR’s philosophy is: Follow the law, utilize sound science and “insert commonsense” when need be, according to Moroney. The DNR is no longer a strong advocate one way or another on environmental issues,” Moroney said.
Later, the article shares the DNR’s position on the practice of Spray Manure Irrigation (what they now call precision manure irrigation, hoping to soften the image).
Moroney said the DNR is supportive of the concept of precision manure irrigation. The practice is already allowed under DNR rules, but there hasn’t been a lot of research. He thinks it’s a viable alternative to spreading manure in spring and fall, but he cautioned, there’s need to ensure human health is protected. Disease-transport research with the UW College of Agriculture and Live Sciences at the Marshfield Ag Research Station will look at how far manure vapor goes under different conditions. The department, said its deputy secretary, has the goal of finalizing technical standards on precision manure irrigation by June 1. Discussions with producers were held last year, and UW-Extension is facilitating continued talks.
If any regulations are necessary regarding precision manure irrigation, they’ll be science-based, he stressed.
Let’s hope the DNR considers all of the science-based information and input from the medical community in their decision making. One respected Wisconsin doctor says: “Using center pivots to dispose of raw, untreated liquid manure is a reckless and dangerous practice. Here are the reasons why: (1) the cornerstone of good public health practice is to create a barrier between people and any raw, untreated manure, whether it be animal or human; (2) there are over 150 pathogens in raw, untreated animal manure, whether it be dairy, swine, or poultry manure; (3) at any given time in our population, 20% of the people are significantly susceptible to these pathogens – by significantly susceptible, I mean, they can become ill and die; (4) MRSA is an infection untreatable by antibiotics and extremely deadly – this is so, because the bacteria causing it are antibiotic resistant; (5) any person on chemotherapy is highly susceptible to become ill or die; (6) it is morally reprehensible to implement a practice that puts neighbors and others in harm’s way; and (7) there are hundreds of studies available for review by any interested or concerned citizen that document what I have stated above.” — Margaret L Pulera, MD