Washington Issues First Dairy Fine Under 2009 Law

Apr 17, 2013

The state of Washington has fined a Yakima Valley dairy for spreading cow manure on an empty field. It’s not a big fine -- but it’s the first one issued under a 2009 law.

Department of Agriculture inspectors found a Grandview dairy owner was getting rid of liquid manure by spreading it over an empty field. Dairies often use manure to fertilize crops. That’s perfectly legal -- as long as they don’t pollute or over-fertilize.

Inspectors found the dairy’s records didn’t match up with how it actually used the manure. The department issued a $250 civil fine. The dairy owner did not respond to an interview request.

Ginny Prest heads up Washington’s Dairy Nutrient Management Program. She says the program has issued about 100 record-keeping warnings.

“We can use a letter of warning or a notice of correction, kind of informal enforcement action, and just about 95 percent of the time that takes care of the issue," Prest says. "In this case, it just didn’t.”

Prest says the dairy owner has paid the fine and fixed the manure application.

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