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Idaho County Mulls Dairy Moratorium

09 May 2007

IDAHO - One of the state's biggest dairy counties is considering whether to put the brakes on livestock development, at least temporarily.

Jerome County officials are drafting a resolution that would impose a six-month moratorium on new and expanded livestock operations.

Officials said they're worried about water quality and the possibility that the county could be held liable if potato fields are contaminated with dairy waste.

"It's not that I dislike dairies. My gosh, they've been a lifesaver for us," County Commissioner Joe Davidson said Monday, May 7, during a meeting of the board of commissioners. "But I think we need to know where we're at."

The county, which has about 69,000 head of mature dairy cattle, must show that it faces an "imminent peril," before imposing the moratorium.

Commissioner Diana Obenauer said she has evidence to show that big livestock operations pose a public health threat. She cited some examples from other states.

Commissioners could sign a moratorium on May 15, when they're scheduled to take a vote.

Dairy industry officials believe the county is rushing ahead with a moratorium that isn't necessary.

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Source: CapitalPress


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