Minn. court upholds stray voltage ruling

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On Monday, a Minnesota Appeals Court ruled that a Harlan Poppler, a dairy farmer from Waverly, Minn., was entitled to damages after stray electrical currents from a local power cooperative impacted his herd. 

According to the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, the split ruling upheld a Wright County jury’s verdict, which awarded Poppler damages from Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association. 

“They were killing these cows and putting them under stress and I had to sit here and watch that every day,” Poppler told the newspaper. “Do you have a pet? These cows are more than just a production animal to us. These cows are our livelihood.”

The case now moves back to Wright County to calculate the Popplers’ estimated $700,000 loss in profits.   

Read more here.

Stray voltage is not a new problem for livestock producers. Dairy Herd Management has been writing about it since the mid-1990s. But lawsuits continue to be filed against electric cooperatives.  In 2011 the Minnesota Legislature took steps to recognize the problem of stray voltage on dairy farms. The bill, HF1157, currently sits in legislative limbo.

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James Coots    
Kentucky  |  July, 24, 2013 at 09:27 AM

Its about time someone stood up for us about this problem. I have had my coop to check for stray voltage several times an they keep telling me there is no problem. Then you tell me why my cows are at the back of the pen the whole time we are milking. Their udders are full and you have to make them come in the barn. If any one has any suggestions please help me We do not feed in the milk parlor we are on TMR ration. James Coots

Bradley Taylor    
Booneville MS  |  July, 24, 2013 at 12:51 PM

James--- All electric power coops tell you there is no problem or it is your problem. That is what their insurer is telling them to say. All electric coops are insured by the same company. If they can hold you off long enough it will put you out of business. Then they won't have to worry with you. This is their plan. Then if you figure out it is their problem they try to make you look like a bad manager and a bad person. Write down everything they tell you as it happens. Send them emails or certified mail asking them to investigate. Get an outside electrical engineer or professional engineer to help you. We dealt with this problem for years and want to help others overcome it. Old single phase are the worst. If you are on the end of the line it is even worse. Check to make sure it is not anything on your property also such as a loose ground.

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