Cattle, milk safe

Waste handling violations issued to Clyde dairy
By Vicki Hyatt | Aug 14, 2014

Three different regulatory reports on the dairy operation at Osborne Farms in the Stamey Cove area indicate problems with waste handling, but show no evidence that animals were mistreated or milk production was in any way unsafe.

Brian Long, with N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said his agency has jurisdiction over the milking process, and a recent inspection showed no indication of animal mistreatment and no practices that would indicate the milk would be unsafe for consumption.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) released a video and a news release alleging animal abuse on the farm, calling the animals “emaciated” and suffering from lameness. The news item also suggested there were safety issues with the milk.

The Aug. 8 inspection report, which has 73 areas where a farm can be cited for noncompliance, had two boxes checked and the remarks section noted the cow yard contained excessive manure. Long said inspectors found loose ceiling tiles, rough spots on floor and broken pipes that needed covered, but said none of those problems would constitute a public health hazard. Many of the problems have already been fixed, he added.

Inspectors also watched during the milking process, which focused on sanitation issues within the milking parlor, and likewise found no problems.

An Aug. 8 inspection report from the Haywood County Animal Control department said the cow yard where manure is piled was fenced off to prevent cattle from entering.  The cattle had two pasture areas away from the waste, one outside the barn and another across the road, where cattle stayed when they were not being milked.

One animal was found to have an overgrown hoof, but it didn’t have a negative effect on her gait, the report stated, and there were no concerns about the body conditions of the animals.

“It was unfounded that the cattle did not have a dry area to bed down and that they are kept staying in excess manure at the time of visit,” the report stated.

In an email response, Jean Hazzard, director of the animal control department, stated she “reviewed the alleged deplorable confinement and living conditions which were unfounded.”

Waste citations issued

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources inspection report issued Osborne Farm six notices of violation for improper waste handling, and gave the business 10 days to provide a written response listing corrective actions already taken and a schedule for completing any corrective actions not addressed.

The department is considering a recommendation for a civil penalty which can be no more than $25,000.

Violations included failure to operate the facility as a nondischarge system that prevents a discharge of waste into surface water, failure to maintain collection, treatment and storage facilities as outlined in the animal waste system permit; failure to keep the storage pond free of foreign debris, failure to maintain highly visible waste-level gauges to mark the level in the storage pond, failure to noitify the Division of Water Resources of a discharge and failure to pay the annual administering and compliance fee.

Comments (5)
Posted by: John Buckley | Aug 15, 2014 11:49

Being assured by any government agency that everything is "OK" is hard to believe. Across this state there have been more than a few instances that regulators have misrepresented. The most infamous incident this year is the Dan River contamination by Duke Energy. In the instance noted above, seeing cows wading thru a pool of liquid manure was unsettling in the very least. This is the 21st century in America, not some banana republic in the 1800s, or is it?

Posted by: Scott Lilly | Aug 15, 2014 13:04

I'd be willing to bet if there were any funny business going on, Ms. Hyatt would be able to detect and report it.  If The Mountaineer says it's so, that's good enough for me!


"Vicki Hyatt ... (has) two sons (that) began a cattle operation — Sunburst Beef, LLC."




Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Aug 15, 2014 17:48

        The Agricultural inspectors had nothing to do with Duke Energy's nonsense.

         What is important is what takes place in the milking parlor. Are the cows washed off and the teats free of foreign substances and disinfected before milking? What takes place in holding pens is of little consequence to what happens inside milking parlor. Too bad there was no picture of that! It has always been too easy for city folks to falsely judge farming operations.

              I sold my farm to a friend that milks three times a day. His parlor is spotless.



Posted by: Vicki Hyatt | Aug 16, 2014 16:59

I visited the milking parlor and it smelled clean and fresh. Out of 73 possible infractions that can be found in the milking process, the state agriculture inspectors found two minor violations -- neither of which had anything to do with milk safety. Tests have shown the milk meets all standards.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Aug 17, 2014 09:37

         Vicky Hyatt;


           It would be most considerate if your paper did a follow-up to point out what you just wrote. We can't have the city folks worrying that a turd might fall out of their milk and contaminate their fruit-loops.

             Perception is very important when dealing with things people put in their mouths. We simply cannot allow the public trust to be unnecessarily broken by a depiction unexplained.


               Thank you,






                  I have no relation nor acquaintance to the farmer.


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