FRIENDS OF TOPPENISH CREEK HEAD, IN ANGRY EMAIL, CALLS EVIDENCE FARMERS PRESENTED “JUST PLAIN STUPID,” SHOWS SHE’S UNFAMILIAR WITH THE SCIENCE AROUND NITRATES AND WATER CONTAMINATION
In a threat recently sent to three members of the local dairy community, activist Jean Mendoza, head of Friends of Toppenish Creek, accused dairy farmers of lying, calling a Yakima Family Farmers video’s comparison between manure lagoons and residential septic systems “stupid.”
In the email, Mendoza threatened to tell everyone on the organization’s contact list that “dairymen in Washington spread lies” if they did not take down a certain video on the issue.
But Mendoza’s failed attempt to discredit the dairy community exposes her fundamental lack of understanding of the science behind manure, nitrates and groundwater.
WHY MENDOZA IS WRONG
The comparison in the video she was complaining about actually came from government technical experts, and was confirmed by a leading agricultural scientist at Washington State University.
If Mendoza, Friends of Toppenish Creek and its attorney Charlie Tebbutt are actually serious about dealing with water contamination, they need to examine the science and acknowledge the major significance of residential Onsite Sewage Systems (septic systems) to the Lower Yakima Valley’s groundwater nitrate situation.
Our challenge to Mendoza: prove that the facts we are putting forward (shown below) are incorrect, or apologize to Jason Sheehan, Dan DeGroot and Steve George for the false accusations she made.
Activist Jean Mendoza, head of Friends of Toppenish Creek, has been party to numerous damaging lawsuits and a long list of her accusations have been published in the Yakima Herald.
DAIRY FARMERS AND THEIR CRITICS: WHO IS TELLING THE TRUTH?
Dairy farmers in the Yakima Valley have been facing severe criticism for many years from a small group of very vocal activists. Mendoza in particular has been a party to numerous damaging lawsuits and has published a long series of accusations in the Yakima Herald.
Dairy farms, small or large, certainly have the potential to pollute through improper field application of manure and through failing manure lagoons. But the overwhelming majority of dairy farmers are highly responsible stewards of water and our environment. For those who may fail by accident or carelessness, Washington state has some of the most stringent nutrient management laws in the nation, enforced through inspections, penalties and fines by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
The major issue is nitrate in groundwater. While most areas of past farming activities have nitrate in groundwater above the current EPA limit, the litigation industry and their environmental activist supporters choose to blame current dairy operations for the elevated levels. Save Family Farming, a state-wide farm advocacy group, published information some time ago that showed residential septic systems are major contributors of nitrate contamination. The video produced showed that just five residential septic systems can contribute up to ten times more nitrate than a one acre manure lagoon. That doesn’t sound logical and Ms. Mendoza demanded Yakima dairy farmers retract that information or she would expose the “lies” and “stupidity.”
That caused our dairy community to dig deeper into the issue of contamination from septic systems and lagoons. What we found is that the differences are likely much greater than earlier published. More likely just five residential septic systems, or Onsite Sewage Systems (OSS) may contribute twenty to thirty times more than a one acre manure lagoon, and that is before considering the much greater impact from septic systems packed closely together as they are near Outlook, or the fact that 50% to 60% of these systems are likely failing.
We have documented these facts very carefully using science experts from around the nation very knowledgeable about these issues. Please review our complete explanation on our website here, or request it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For those concerned about the facts about dairies, water quality, health impacts, septic systems and other issues related to the environment, we encourage you to visit www.savefamilyfarming.org.
Ms. Mendoza and a few of her friends have demonstrated that the truth about dairies and environmental performance will not dissuade them from their beliefs. Why should it, when it is proving profitable through legal settlements?
The truth matters to dairy farmers and we believe it matters to you as well. Dairy farms are not beyond criticism and we welcome helpful and constructive ideas on how we can improve. But they must be based on the facts, not fictions generated to secure funds for activist organizations.
Here’s Mendoza’s threatening email in full, and our response, including an in-depth review of the science around nutrient contamination from Onsite Sewage Systems (OSS) and manure lagoons: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