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EPA Fines Chicken Farmer $37,500 Each Time It Rains

chicken farmerRaising poultry is hard enough work, but West Virginia farmer Lois Alt has been battling not only the weather lately but also the EPA – and she’s winning.

The EPA is threatening to fine Alt $37,500 each time it rains. Why? It seems the EPA believes that all-natural dust, feathers and manure on her farm are a threat, and that rain water draining off her property will contaminate the environment. The EPA’s draconian position literally could impact thousands of farmers across the country and put them out of business.

It all sounds ridiculous, yes, but we’ve only scratched the surface. On this week’s episode of Off The Grid Radio, American Farm Bureau Federation’s Danielle Quist tells us just how far the EPA is willing to go to get Lois to obey.


Quist, an attorney who is representing Lois in a lawsuit against the EPA, tells us:

  • What the EPA wants Lois to do to stay in business (hint: it’s neither cheap nor easy).
  • How this case could impact farmers from coast to coast.
  • How EPA regulations are driving farmers out of business and keeping others from even entering the profession.

There’s good news, though: A federal court has sided with Lois. But the EPA is appealing, so the legal fight is not over.

This is a true modern-day version of David vs. Goliath that any American – and particularly any off-the-grid citizen — should care about.

© Copyright Off The Grid News


  1. While it would not surprise me if the EPA was making this mandate to squelch small farms in the name of factory farm profiteering, I could also understand that if the chicken waste is not disposed of properly it could cause adverse environmental effects. As this article stated: chicken waste is “all-natural”, however the concentration of chickens shown in the photo is not natural. The amount of waste those chickens produce could very possibly overcome that small environment’s ability to safely break down the waste before it reaches water sources. The article would be complete, and unbiased, if it included more information about the EPA’s side of the story. Did the EPA do studies that found dangers in the way they are disposing of chicken waste? What, specifically, are the requirements being placed on this chicken farmer? The natural environment is much more important than a single persons ability to mass produce chicken. This really doesn’t seem to pertain to off-the-grid living as this would only affect people in the farming industry which is very much a part of “the grid”. In fact, to live off the grid you must be very careful not to destroy the land that provides your food and water. If you are part of the monetary system, and profiting monetarily from the farming of chickens by selling them to other people, it is the EPA’s responsibility that you are doing it in such a fashion as not to harm the environment. If they can prove that your practices negatively affecting other people, you should have to change your practices. As long as you aren’t harming, or potentially harming, other people you should be able to do as you please. Again, making a living from farming chickens is not living off the grid. In fact, making money at all is not living off the grid.

    • Agreed. A lot or your alphabet-soup agencies have become the enforcers for powerful people to further their goals or squash their opposition. I wouldn’t be surprised if the EPA was “encouraged” by a factory-farm outfit to go after this particular farmer.

      And seeing how the EPA likes to make its own rules, odds are the requirement being forced down small operators’ throats are far more stringent than the ones “suggested” to the bigger outfits.

      • The EPA rule would impact all farms — free-range or not. EPA does not discriminate.

        • And the IRS doesn’t target the tea party folks. Didn’t you see the Senate hearings yesterday where the woman testified – under oath – that not only did IRS target her, the FBI and EPA visited her business on several occasions.

      • While this IS a factory farm, it appears to be one that is run quite well. First off, the chicks do not appear to be overcrowded. Second, from the little bit we see in the video, it appears to be kept clean on the outside. It would appear that these people are trying to do it right.

        However, the article does not even mention what happens to the chicken poop after it leaves the chickens. Ive seen guys that will stand there and tell you that they have fields out back they spread it around on as fertilizer. Fact, it takes just as much land to farm chickens this way if you are going to use the poop as fertilizer on your own property as it does to free range the birds. Most places use slurry ponds to deal with the waste issues. Smart farmers using this factory technique would find a way to compost the poop, then sell it as fertilizer to the local community. But, like I said, this story does not even bring up what happens to the poop after it leaves the birds.

        The legal issue however is of great concern to everyone. Unless there is actual harm taking place, the EPA should go stick it where the sun don’t shine. I could write a book on this issue. If no harm is being done, then it’s not unlawful. However, the legal system will attempt to punish you regardless. No doubt at the request of the big zombie corporate factory farm owners threw their lobbyists to cut the competition.

    • The EPA rule would impact all farms — free-range or not. EPA does not discriminate between off and on the grid, nor between free-range and non-free-range. In fact, the federal government has traditionally TOUGHER on free-range farmers. So all farmers should be pulling for this West Virginia farmer. In other words, if the EPA is successful forcing this farmer to change, then it likely can and will go after off-grid farmers.

    • Gee Dave, how much do you want to pay for your food?

    • Spot on.

    • He’s totally right, this is the first time I’ve ever sided with the EPA. Those chicken houses are grossly unatural, this is not “off-the-grid” news worthy or their normal style. This story has me concerned with whose editing for them. This was extremely off putting and the person either has never, and I mean never lived near those disgusting godawful smelling amonia laced chicken houses, watching the value of their property plummet, or , OR they most likely own their own chicken houses. Either way this article doesn’t belong, it’s like finding marx, in a constitutional discussion.

  2. From the photo it looks to be a factory farm i am 100% against i hope the e.p.a put all factory farms out of business

    • The EPA rule would impact all farms — free-range or not. EPA does not discriminate.

      • I think we might have to agree to disagree here. Perhaps I see it because I am not American and it isn’t right in my face, but it seems to me as though the EPA is tougher on the little guy than on the big corporations.

        With money, you can make anything and everything go away. Look at that “mentally ill with Affluenza” DUI punk from Texas as an example. And with money, you can easily sway a government entity to pay closer attention to someone than would normally be warranted, especially when their senior ranks a filled with patronage appointments.

        Somehow, you don’t see a lot of the major players investigated by the EPA even when they are flagrantly going against environmental regulations. But little guys? All the time. You might even go so far as surmising the EPA is being used as enforcers so the corporations can shut down the competition.

  3. Farmers today – who next. How about oil drippings from cars running off a parking lot – probably producing far more serious consequences. But start with the farmer because not many of them can fight the government. How about fighting the run-off from your driveway. Then if we find a car, truck or semi that still has a leak make them forfeit the vehicle for destruction. If we decide to put all factory farms out of business the family farms would be next and the price of food would double. Since we have a lot of crap flowing out of Washington _ lets close it down instead!

  4. The same EPA which declared the air was safe to breathe at WTC Ground Zero?

  5. I live by a duck operation in Northern Indiana. The stench, the dead ducks piled up and the dust the blows across the neighborhood is terrible. Complaining to local officials accomplishes nothing. Complaining to a state congressman resulted in me being told “after all his is a farming community”. I eventually went to the EPA for help. That resulted in the duck farmer cleaning up his act for a while. He has now started a feeder calf operation with hundreds of feeder calves along with thousands of ducks .. all on approximately 15 acres. Most of the acreage slops down and all the filthy drainage from the feeder calves, plus all the duck crap is piled up for months until it can be spread on local farmers fields, goes into the fresh water system and our WELLS.
    I don’t care for all the government control, but the small and big AG operations think they are above the law. They need to be brought under control or else SHUT DOWN.
    The pollution is just one abuse by AG operations and farmers in general. Here in Southern Michigan and Northern Indiana they sink irrigation wells that are “sucking” up the supply of fresh water. As a result, when they sink a new well, area residents have to dig new and/or deeper wells. Our taxes support these guys via the farm bill and what do we get … higher grocery bills!!!!

    • Good point here, the guy is doing too much on not enough land. I dabble in farming and ranching, try to do it old school. Lots of chicken and turkey operations in my neck of the sticks and if you live next to one, it is nasty. I’m going to have chicken litter spread on my pastures this Spring, as I’ve done in the past. It’s cheap, it’s organic and breaks-down fast and is high in nitrogen. We have our well and spring water tested semi-annually and it doesn’t seem to cause an issue. The EPA does do some good, but has also caused some major grief. I worked in the heavy demolition business in the early 70’s, when the EPA was created. You would not believe the amount of industrial crap that was buried all over the country. Chemicals, asbestos, lead, hell you name it. All the fatcats were scrambling to get rid of their nasty stuff before the fed stepped in. I still cringe thinking about it.

      • Yes, have you ever heard of the radioactive waste buried, then later moved a few miles away and buried again by the feds north of St. Louis. Maybe the feds should clean up their own act and not worry about a small chicken farmer

  6. Thomas Jefferson was a hemp farmer-hmmmm–was required at that time.

    MO you can record phone messages as long a one part was aware–seems like that would work with vidioeo also with current security systems it would be available.

    AVD Rules and Regulations aren’t necessarily Lawful and Legal

  7. Thomas Jefferson was a hemp farmer-hmmmm–was required at that time.

    MO you can record phone messages as long a one part was aware–seems like that would work with video also with current security systems it would be available.

    AND Rules and Regulations aren’t necessarily Lawful and Legal

  8. This is a very important case whether anyone realizes it or not. Whatever the decision will ultimately be, it will apply to everyone – including the backyard gardener .

    • …Affect us how? By ensuring our OWN pastures and springs are less contaminated? Do you REALLY think that most “backyard gardeners” output the same levels of contamination that factory farms do? You are either a complete fool or you yourself have vested interest in Big Agra.

  9. Another strike at the U.S. economy via a treasonous administration.
    The FDA approved importation of chicken from Red China last year and now the EPA is attacking our own poultry industry. Watch for similar actions against our pork producers also since pork processor Smithfield was bought by a Red Chinese pork processing company last year – with the blessings of the feds.

  10. Here is what happened and the courts went in favor of Ms. Alt:

  11. Umm… chicken feces are bad for the environment when they are flowing into streams, rivers, and eventually large bodies of water in mass quantities. Large farms are a HUGE source of pollution, so I completely agree laws and fines should be implemented to prevent this. Or, get rid of factory farms…

  12. Dear offthegridnews:

    Shame on you. Yes, free enterprise is a sign of a free society (and I’m all for it). HOWEVER, Constitutionally speaking, one person’s freedom ends where another person’s freedom begins. Anyone who, like myself, grew up around disgusting, inhumane factory farms, learns the hard way that home values plummet the moment chicken houses pop up nearby. They smell revolting almost year round, usually end up contaminating nearby farmland and water sources, and in general significantly lower the quality of life for any person (or animal) unfortunate enough to be in the nearby vicinity. Oh, and by the way, factory farmers are notorious for aiming the fans toward OTHER people’s homes instead of their own. This might be the first time the EPA has actually ensured people’s rights (the neighbors) instead of merely taking rights away, which is their usual M.O. For the first time ever I say, GO EPA!!!!

    p.s. despite the manipulative picture, I don’t feel sorry for the lady holding the cute baby chick. I feel sorry for the chick forced to live under those conditions… nothing “all natural” about it!!!

    • … Oh, and as far as the “David vs. Goliath” (false) analogy is concerned, a more accurate case would be small, organic farms vs. Big Agra (i.e.: factory chicken farms and the like). Once again, I repeat myself in saying “Shame on you” to Your company has obviously been co-opted by Big Agra. I have unsubscribed to your newsletter, so as to avoid disappointment when you start pushing GMOs. What a disappointment.

  13. Hmmmm… that’s true, they’d prefer we buy that chinese poisonous crap, but the factory farm chicken outfits are still disgusting and nasty, and horrendous to the ecosystem, and no I am not an environmentalist, but those places contaminate the area, and drinking water, for all the backyard farmers trying to do it right, and not mass produced hormone laden, antibiotic infested to the point of destroying the good bacteria in your gut chickens. EPA still sucks though.

  14. Great blog here! Also your web site loads up fast!

    What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

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