Overhe(a)rd: Everything You Wondered About PFAS But Were Afraid to Ask

In the latest episode of Overhe(a)rd, Host Portia Stewart offers an update on Art Schaap, the owner of the New Mexico Dairy forced to dump 15,000 gallons of milk each day. Schaap had to let all but nine of his 40 employees go and plans to cull all 4,000 of his cows because seven of his 13 wells have been contaminated by toxins called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that entered the groundwater at nearby Cannon Air Force base.

“ I’ve got cows on my dairy dying every day from old age and from this PFAS. I’m still dumping my milk,” he says. 

Learn more about the lawsuit Schaap filed and what the contamination means for his dairy by listening to the podcast below. 

Meat the millennial 

When it comes to grocery shopping, Millennial Meat Eater Cristin Shepherd says, “I try and go as little as possible, but I don't think I could think of what I wanted to eat for a whole month at a time. But I can usually think about things two weeks at a time, right? So I'll typically go in the beginning of one week and then I'll have enough to make food for the week ahead.” 

Shepherd dishes on her guilty pleasure treats and snacking habits below. 

The main dish

Farm Journal’s Dairy Editorial Director Anna-Lisa Laca joins us for the Main Dish, where we discuss PFAS—what it is, what it does, and why dairy farmers should care.

“PFAS are a group of synthetic chemicals that have been used around the world since the 1940s. So you could think of them as like Teflon cookware, or Scotch Guard is another commonly known brand name. They're chemicals that are water resistant, and keep things from sticking. So they're lining pizza boxes. And they also were used to put out jet fuel fires on military installations around the country.”

So one of the things that's becoming an increasing concern with PFAS, Laca says, is that as we are able to test water down to smaller particulate levels, we are detecting PFAS in the water. 

“And what that means for dairy farmers is that in some areas where people's levels are really high in the water, it can cause concern because that PFAS is then found in milk as well,” she says. 

Laca answers the top questions about PFAS groundwater contamination and what dairy farmers can do about it here: 

Other ways to listen:

Apple podcasts



Read more about PFAS here:

Dairy Farmer Files Lawsuit on PFAS Groundwater Contamination

Air Force Pollution Forces New Mexico Dairy To Euthanize 4,000 Cows
Art Schaap Relies on Diversification for Success
Check out the PFAS resource center here.