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4,000 Dairy Cows to be Euthanized Due to Air Force Pollution

Thanks to groundwater contamination caused by a nearby U.S. Air Force base, Highland Dairy of Clovis, NM, will euthanize all 4,000 cows. Owner Art Schaap has been dumping 15,000 gallons of contaminated milk each day and has relieved 40 employees of their duties.

According to a Farm Journal report, not only are his cows and calves contaminated, but Schaap himself has eight to ten times the normal level of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in his blood stream.

“This has poisoned everything I’ve worked for and everything I care about,” Schaap told New Mexico Political Report. “I can’t sell the milk. I can’t sell beef. I can’t sell the cows. I can’t sell crops or my property. The Air Force knew they had contamination. What I really wonder is, why didn’t they say something?”

The Department of Defense has disclosed 121 installations where groundwater has been impacted by PFAS.

Schaap is the first dairy farmer to feel the impact of this pollution. There are 80,000 dairy cows in Curry County. Local news stations report presence of PFAS is spreading slowly in the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest aquifer in the nation, which spans 174,000 miles and parts of eight states.

Air Force authorities say their focus is not on the agricultural impact.

“I really want to emphasize this: Our focus is drinking water for human consumption – not for agriculture, not for anything else,” Air Force spokesman Mark Kinkade told Searchlight.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced last week its intent to regulate the chemical by year’s end, but the agency’s plan does not include immediate cleanup actions.