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Court Orders Derby Dairy Farms To Stop Pollution

CONTACT: Michael O. Duane, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-3186

November 14, 2013

Two dairy farms owned by Nelson Farms, Inc. in Derby were ordered by the Orleans Superior Court, Civil Division, to stop discharging waste into the Clyde River and Crystal Brook.

The Attorney General’s Office obtained a preliminary injunction on behalf of the Agency of Agriculture and the Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation. “Vermont farmers are stewards of the land and provide many environmental and economic benefits to our state. However, it is not acceptable for farmers to allow barnyard waste to pollute our waterways,” Attorney General William Sorrell said. “Although an acre of farm land produces less phosphorus than an acre of urbanized land, excess phosphorous in our waterways from any source deprives freshwater fish and plants of essential oxygen.” The Clyde River farm is home to approximately 450 dairy cows and 200 heifers. The Crystal Brook farm is home to approximately 575 dairy cows.

The farms must now take immediate steps to stop agricultural waste in the barnyard areas of both farms from entering the Clyde River and Crystal Brook while the State’s lawsuit) for a permanent solution and civil penalties moves forward. “The State’s agricultural water quality laws and programs are designed to assist farmers to help keep our waterways clean,” said Sorrell. ”When voluntary compliance efforts fail, however, the Agency of Agriculture, the Department of Environmental Conservation and my Office will work cooperatively to take enforcement action.”

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