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As Temps Climb… Cow Carcasses Pile Up

July 6,2017-

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 1.50.37 PMThree Central Valley counties have proclaimed a state of emergency as weeks of triple digit heat has resulted in significant livestock deaths. Local rendering plants can not keep up says a Tulare County proclamation heard by their Board of Supervisors July 6.

Kings County and Fresno County have similar proclamations extending a notice from late June.

Making things worse, a mechanical failure at Baker Commodities Kerman plant  has resulted in the back-up at their Hanford facility the would normally pick-up and accept dead animals.

The counties state of emergency proclamations cite health and groundwater contamination issues from decomposing cow carcasses.

At the Kerman plant the notice says 400 tons of livestock carcasses have accumulated.

The declaration sets in motion approval of alternative methods of disposal approved by CDFA and CAL-EPA until the emergency is over. Thousands of animals are expected to die despite owners best efforts to keep them cool.

The heatwave has been intense and prolonged. During the last 2 weeks of June 2017, Hanford’s NWS says 9 days were over 100F. So far in July most days were 100F or over. The 10-day forecast going forward, has little relief, with every day listed at 100F or above and temps reaching 107F this weekend.

A similar heat event occurred in 2006 casing high animal mortalities. Valley wide nearly $300 million in losses were reported due to the heat. In Kings County some 1,834 milk cows valued at $3.7 million died that summer.

Producers have the following options for disposing of carcasses:

1. Directly transport the carcasses to an alternative rendering facility or permitted landfill if one can be located which will accept them.

2. Temporarily store mortalities on their farm in composting piles for later transport to a permitted landfill.

3. Permanently bury mortalities on farm in an emergency landfill. This process requires a permit application, fees and paperwork with the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

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