Poisoned Wells: New Mexico dairy dumps milk while dealing with toxins in drinking water

Art and Renee Schaap are living a nightmare. Last summer, their farm’s water wells were found to be contaminated with chemicals from the adjacent Canon Air Force Base. And things have quickly gone from bad to worse for the fourth-generation dairyman and his family.

Clean water is vital for all dairy operations. But in a county that receives less than 18 inches of rain annually, Schaap’s wells are crucial for his crops, his cows and his family’s drinking water.

The contamination has affected every aspect of Schaap’s life. He and his wife have both tested positive for elevated levels of the toxic compounds in their bodies. And the poison is also in their soil, their crops and their cows, in addition to their wells. Schaap has been dumping milk from the 2,000-cow milking herd into his manure lagoon since Oct. 30, 2018. Over 1,000 heifers are still being fed with no hope of selling or bringing them into production. Nine hundred calf hutches stand empty. Thirty-five employees have lost their jobs.

Read the full story at https://www.progressivedairy.com/topics/management/poisoned-wells-new-mexico-dairy-dumps-milk-while-dealing-with-toxins-in-drinking-water . It was the cover story for the April, 2019 issue of Progressive Dairyman magazine and also appeared on their website.