Dairy Herds and Rural Communities in Southern New Mexico

By Arnold, Stephen D. | Journal of Environmental Health, July-August 1999 | Go to article overview

Dairy Herds and Rural Communities in Southern New Mexico


Arnold, Stephen D., Journal of Environmental Health


Editor's note:

This paper is the first in a two-part series about the environmental health impact that dairies have on local communities. Part I focuses on health concerns that result from groundwater contamination, odor, flies, and dust. Part II, to be published in the September 1999 issue of the Journal, will address the specific problem of groundwater contamination from nearby dairy feedlots and wastewater lagoons.

Introduction

New Mexico has the fifth-largest land area among U.S. states and has a low population density of 12.4 persons per square mile. Between 1990 and 1995, New Mexico was the seventh-fastest-growing state. The population reached 1.6 million in 1995, which placed the state 36th in total population and sixth lowest in population density (1). With 13,500 farms covering 43.7 million acres, as well as 22.2 million acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service land that is leased to farmers and ranchers, New Mexico has a significant agricultural sector. New Mexico livestock agriculture consists of 8,500 cattle ranches, 700 milk cow farms, 1,000 sheep ranches, and 500 hog farms (2). In amount of milk produced, New Mexico ranks 12th among U.S. states. Growth of the dairy industry has been spectacular in the last two decades, especially in southern New Mexico. In 1970, milk production totaled 304 million pounds. By 1995 it had soared to 3,623 million pounds (3).

A concern is nitrate contamination of groundwater from unlined, manure-lined, or clay-lined holding lagoons used for the disposal of dairy wastes. Many New Mexico milking operations are located in an established dairy center, termed "the dairy belt," along the Rio Grande River to the north and south of Las Cruces in Sierra and Dona Ana counties. The dairy belt presents a special concern because

* the depth to groundwater in the alluvial aquifers in the Rio Grande Valley is unusually shallow;

* the alluvial materials are generally permeable and allow relatively rapid movement of contaminants from the surface to underlying aquifers; and

* the domestic water supply relies on alluvial groundwater (4).

Pursuant to section 3-104 of the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) Regulations, all dairies in New Mexico are required to apply for and maintain a groundwater discharge permit for discharge of wastewater generated from milk production activities (5). Wastewater must be handled in accordance with the approved permit, which specifies whether wastewater must remain onsite or discharge to neighboring agricultural land is allowed. Discharge to an existing waterway is not allowed.

New Mexico dairy farmers are working with state agencies to develop guidelines that allow a dairy farmer to submit a single discharge plan. This is a new effort, and guidelines are not yet finalized. This single discharge plan must comply with the technical discharge plan requirements of the WQCC regulations, the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO), the New Mexico Environment Department Policy for Storage and Disposal of Dairy Wastes, and the Water Quality Act (6). A number of resources are available to assist dairy owners in complying with state and federal regulations that govern milk quality and disposal of wastewater. The Cooperative Extension Service at New Mexico State University has developed a detailed on-line series of fact sheets called Farm*A*Syst, constituting a voluntary groundwater protection program for New Mexico farms, ranches, and rural homeowners (7). Numerous national resources also are available on line.

In addition to groundwater contamination, other health concerns for rural populations surrounding dairy farms include odor, flies, and dust. Odors from concentrated animal-feeding operations can be extremely displeasing to area residents; dust is a nuisance and a potential health hazard.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Dairy Herds and Rural Communities in Southern New Mexico
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.