From the Concerned Citizens of Hartford, Michigan 49057
aka CAFO'S:
"Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations"

Local Michigan Edition
(Also see the Unites States / International Edition)

Potential Hazards to Health, Environment,
and Quality-of-Life

[Note: for overall general information on what factory farms are,
debunking "myths" about them,
strategies for stopping them,
health hazards (including high risk for Mad Cow disease),
economic & environmental risks, & much more,
please go to our Factory Farms page.]

We support
Family Farmers,
Industrial Factories

FYI: Factory farms tend to thrive in an atmosphere of secrecy.  If you are unfamiliar with what they are, this website offers annotated links that will tell you more.   Please be aware that the material can be quite disturbing.  Go slowly, no more than a few links at a time.  You may reach different conclusions from ours, which is your right.  But please at least consider the mounting evidence against these "farms."

Tons of Manure Runoff from Dairy Cows in Michigan
Photo by K. Hudson
[Courtesy of:]

Factory Farms: The Wal-Marts of Manure?

[Added 21 January 2005]:  This hard-hitting report by Anne Woiwode, director of the Sierra Club's Mackinac Chapter, addresses a new dairy CAFO proposal by the den Dulks for Ionia, MI. To support her arguments, she uses evidence concerning the den Dulk's behavior in Hartford:
...The proposed Liberty Dairy CAFO application was submitted by at least three of the same folks who built the Hartford/Red Arrow Dairy CAFO in Hartford....

...Within a handful of weeks of those first cows moving onto the Hartford/Red Arrow CAFO, the neighboring homes and businesses were invaded by huge quantities of flies coming from the operation.  The walls and doors of all of these nearby buildings were covered with flies to the extent that it was impossible to go in or out of buildings without bringing in huge amounts of these public health threats.  Flies from operations like this are disease vectors as well as nuisances - they carry germs from the waste products that they have feasted on with them and deposit them on the people and food they land on....

...In mid-October, barely 2½ months after starting operations, neighbors trained in water sampling took the first samples from a drain tile running onto a neighbor's field off one of the fields that the Hartford/Red Arrow CAFO disposed of its animal wastes on and got readings well in excess of the state's acceptable levels for E.coli.  The test results and a complaint were filed with the DEQ, which did its own tests on November 9.  The DEQ sample taken at the same location registered 47,000 units of E.coli bacteria per 100 ml, which is 47 times the state's maximum limit for E.coli.... [Emphasis is ours]

Anonymous Neighbor's Report on Happenings in Hartford, MI
[Added 2 March 2005]:From Hartford comes this hard-hitting report addressed to the residents of Orleans, MI about what they will face if a CAFO, owned by the same people who built Hartford's, is built there.  [See above link for the Sierra Club's report prior to the Orleans hearing.]  The resident was unable to attend the February DEQ hearing in Orleans and wanted to be sure this information was shared with the citizens there.  The report includes experiences with water pollution, dangerously foul air, spraying liquid manure (which exposes residents to airbourne particulates), treatment of animals, size of farms, torn up roads, and much more.  Here's an excerpt:
...The complaints get handed back and forth between the DEQ and Dept. of Agriculture.  Both departments try to make the local citizens feel like they are to blame because they had agricultural zones in their ordinances.  What sense does this make?  Of course, we have agricultural zones in Michigan since we raise a great deal of the nation's fruit and vegetables.  I don't know of anyone who ever dreamed that the industrial CAFOs would move in and take over the land, neighborhoods, and environment.  Local governments should not be expected to guard against problems they don't have and have never anticipated.... [Emphasis is ours]
This page from the Grace Factory Farm Project (also see below) offers a handful of links specifically focused on Michigan issues.  Here is a sobering, shocking summary about the content of one of them:
Hudson, MI area, 2000-2002. 10 of the 10 Hudson area dairy CAFOs have violated Michigan's Natural Resources & Environmental Protection Act since February 2000. Several CAFOs have multiple violations. Michigan has levied no fines, no penalties -- none -- for any of these violations. Compiled by the Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan. [Emphasis is ours -- but see below for update.]
You can see why factory farms love Michigan (and a handful of other poorly regulated states).  We are not being protected by those elected to serve us.

21 January 2005 update: good news! Michigan's DEQ has finally levied serious fines against the Vreba-Hoff CAFO in the Hudson area -- see the 12/28/04 "News" announcement in the link directly below...:
This is No CAFOs, another site with a specifically Michigan focus, again involving the town of Hudson in South Central Michigan.  The site gives a bird's eye, local view of what happens when CAFOs start buying up land and opening up huge factory farms in a small region.  Hopefully, Hartford can learn from this example.  Here are some excerpts from this photo-rich Winter 2003-2004 "News" page:
...Durfee Creek, Medina Drain listed as severely impaired.  2 streams draining Vreba-Hoff -- Medina Drain and Durfee Creek -- have just been added to Michigan's 303(d) list of "impaired waters."  This CAFO was the first built here, in 1997.  After 7 years of liquid manure on tile-drained fields, streams have been severely impaired.  In a few more years, what will happen to all the other streams draining all the other CAFOs?

Winter and spring pollution: As bad as last year, recent months have brought a terrible series of liquid manure discharges (more than 40 violations, and that's only counting the days DEQ was here and taking water samples). Two-thirds of the discharges were from Vreba-Hoff facilities and fields, with massive pollution entering Lime Lake....

...40+ illegal discharges Jan-March, 2004 -- with spring rains, thaw, liquid manure flows and pollutes after application to frozen fields.  When will they learn?  We went through this last year (check it out).  Liquid manure on frozen ground will do one thing -- run off -- on the surface, or through tile inlets. Either way, pollution flows to our streams. Email DEQ ( and say, we've had enough. CAFO Rules should prohibit application of liquid manure to frozen ground....

The website includes detailed "Stench Alerts." Here are two examples:
...Dec. 2 -- intense stench, public health threats including nausea, headache, breathing difficulties, from intense spraying and surface drag-lining of liquid manure-- Hartland Farms, along Beecher Rd; Bleich Dairy along both sides of Hillside; Vreba-Hoff, along Ridgeville Rd....

...Jan. 23 - Bates Hwy, New Flevo liquid manure application - stench was "horrible," caused eyes to water, nausea....

The page also has a link to: "Holiday pollution when DEQ closed" -- this took place over Christmas 2003.  In addition, there's a link to: "Summary of Netherlands regulations & why Vreba-Hoff sets up Dutch dairies here." [FYI: many dairy CAFOs have a Dutch connection -- the Netherlands has far more stringent laws so many Dutch dairymen have relocated  in Michigan, Illinois, Texas, and other states where regulations and monitoring are known to be ineffective.]
Still focused on Hudson, Michigan, this is from Detroit's Metrotimes:  "The Big Stink: More milk means more manure and a threat to a way of life."  The July 3, 2001 article by Ann Mullen offers a sympathetic look at both sides of the issue -- at a farmer who turned his family farm of 100 cows into a small CAFO of 700, and at his neighbors' reactions and fears.  The reporting is balanced and very sad.  "The Hudson-area dispute," Mullen writes, "has turned neighbors into foes."  Don't miss this one -- here too, hopefully Hartford can avoid the acrimony.  It should be pointed out, however, that the focus of Mullen's article was a 700-cow CAFO.  Hartford is facing 4000 cows.
[FYI: Mullen also has a link to an article she did on Dutch dairies.]

Polluted Huron County Beach
[see directly below]

[Added 13 March 2005]: This a well illustrated and organized site from the Watershed Alliance Group in Huron County, Michigan -- a once-beautiful area located at the tip of the "Thumb," an area of resorts now overrun with agricultural industries.  The group writes:
The Watershed Alliance Group was organized for the purpose of creating a database of water quality analysis at various locations along local rivers and streams....

... Area beaches on Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron have been closed several times during the past few summers due to E.coli levels which exceeded standards considered safe for human bodily contact.  E.coli is a bacteria found in human and animal waste.

If you have ever enjoyed vacationing in this area, you might wish to contact this group to get information on contacting local newspapers, which so far have been resistant to considering the socio-economic, environmental issues relating to CAFOs.

den Dulk land in Hartford Township along the Hartford/Keeler border
23 May 2004

An Open Invitation to the den Dulk Dairy Family

We have come up with an idea that we hope the den Dulk dairy family will consider, especially in light of the fact, as confirmed by a National Academy of Science (NAS) report (details at the above link), that currently there is no state-of-the-art technology to protect the general public and the environment from enormous CAFO-generated water and air pollution.  We lay out the plan at the above link.
Hartford: the place where the deer (or "hart") fords a stream.

This webpage from
Concerned Citizens of Hartford
May 26, 2004

INDEX for Factory Farms / Industrial Agriculture Pages

Note: for overall general information on what factory farms are,
debunking "myths" about them,
strategies for stopping them,
health hazards (including high risk for Mad Cow disease),
economic & environmental risks, etc,
go to our Factory Farms page.

Latest updates: 21 January 2005; 19-20 February 2005; 2 March 2005; 13 March 2005;
27 September 2005: renamed URL to indicate "Michigan" & split this page off from the general information page so that this one now deals solely with Michigan.
5 July 2010:  deleted syllabus.