The Newly Passed FARM Act Makes Unreported Farm Pollutants Legal Again

This post is the first in a series—Connecting Agriculture Policy to Your Health—by CLF-Lerner Fellow Lacey Gaechter.

Last year the US District Court of Appeals took a huge step forward to protect public health from pollutants released by industrial-scale livestock facilities. This March, however, Congress negated the Court’s ruling when it passed the FARM Act. It was easy to miss this undermining of the 2017 decision since Congress rolled the FARM Act into the 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill as a rider.

What is the FARM Act?

The federal Fair Agriculture Reporting Method (FARM) Act is a formal, legislatively guaranteed exemption for industrial-scale livestock producers to the laws requiring other industries to report releases of hazardous materials. Read More >

The Air Down There: Dairy Ops in Yakima Valley, Washington

Q & A with D’Ann Williams

Several years ago, CLF fellow D’Ann Williams, DrPH, was traveling through Yakima Valley, Washington, and was struck by an indescribable smell. The Valley is home to a great number of dairy cows in high-density operations—72 percent of the dairy facilities in the Valley have more than 500 cows each. (A point of reference: in the nation as a whole, only three percent of all dairy operations are that big.) The smell inspired a study, with colleagues Patrick Breysse, PhD, and other Center affiliates*, and it was published last fall in Environmental Health. The study measures the concentration of airborne pollutants in homes close to dairy operations, and the pollutants include particulate matter (PM) and ammonia. Many airborne contaminants are unregulated, and the health effects of exposure are unknown. Recently, I was able to talk with Williams about her research and her recommendations. Read More >