It used to be that dairies were welcomed here. But with the increase of rural neighbors and more and larger livestock operations setting up shop, it appears the political climate toward big dairies is changing.

County commissioners in Canyon County just rejected the second proposal to build a large dairy in the county in less than a year. Their reason: Concerns over the state´s ability to stop air and water pollution. Canyon County commissioners chose quality of life for all who live in the area over the economic benefit the dairies would provide.

Despite the fact that dairy has become a $1 billion industry in the state — overtaking potatoes for the top spot — public outcry, lawsuits and health concerns about living next to large livestock operations is starting to put the brakes on the growth of dairies in the state.

However, when it comes to environmental issues, Idaho dairy producers have been quite proactive. A program the producers supported and helped put in place in 1996 virtually eliminated discharges into waterways. But, issues like odor and air quality, says the Idaho Department of Agriculture, are more complex than water quality. Still, the department believes workable solutions can be found.

For more details, from The Idaho Statesmanclick here.

The Idaho Statesman