Today, The New York Times published “Health Ills Abound as Farm Runoff Fouls Wells” as part of its “Toxic Waters” series. The multiple-part series examines the Clean Water Act, water pollution across the country and how waste from different industries, including agriculture, may affect drinking water.

The reporter’s overall premise is that the Clean Water Act of 1972 is not doing enough to protect our water supply. The article claims that the inconsistent nature of state regulations and lax oversight in general has led to systemic problems with groundwater contamination — this installment highlights these assertions in relation to animal agriculture. The article cites compromised well examples from Brown County, Wis., despite the fact that investigators were unable to determine the cause of drinking water issues in the area.

Information is ammunition — therefore, read the story here so you are aware of its claims. Also check out this video that accompanies the print feature.

Then, post your own perspective in the “Comments” section of the New York Times’ Web page about the steps you take to respect and conserve natural resources.

Meanwhile, here are some talking points from Dairy Management Inc., that you can incorporate in any conversation — whether online or in person — to let people know about your personal dedication to being a good steward of the land. Make sure you personalize these points.

  • Dairy farmers are committed to preserving our water resources.  (Support this with specifics about your operation.)
  • All of us need to work together to keep our water and air clean. Farmers are using innovative and effective options for managing nutrients in order to help improve air and water quality and public health.
  • Quality water is essential to our dairy farm. We feed our cows clean water to produce quality milk.
  • Dairy is one of the most regulated industries in agriculture. Government agencies (insert specific examples) continuously inspect and test our water.
  • By law, manure must be stored in on-farm, secure facilities to help reduce odor and hasten decomposition.
  • In order for local authorities to approve expansion, a dairy farm must show that it has adequate manure storage and recycling systems to handle more cows.