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WHO’S TO BLAME?

September 19, 2012

Just who is responsible for the farm on Coventry Station Road? Photo by Christopher Roy

COVENTRY, VT - The Vermont Attorney General's Office has filed a civil suit against Richard Nelson alleging that Nelson is farming in Coventry and failing to meet state regulations regarding run off, but Nelson's family claims he hasn't worked that farm in four years.
According to the complaint, which was e-mailed to the Newport Daily Express, Nelson is "engaged in farming in the Town of Coventry" on Coventry Station Road, and was informed by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (the Agency) in June of 2009 that "silage leachate system on the farm was not being managed to prevent a discharge of wastes to the waters of the state."
The complaint does not state how this notice was given.
The complaint goes on to state that on Feb. 9, 2010, employees of the Agency and the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) "observed that the silage leachate system at the Defendant's farm had not been corrected...." Two months later, on April 6, the Agency sent a written warning to the Defendant. On May 21, an employee of the Agency apparently observed that the problem had still not been corrected. On June 10, 2010, another written notice was sent "to the Defendant."
The complaint then states that the Defendant, Richard Nelson, entered into a written agreement with the Agency to correct the problem. Employees of the Agency reportedly met with Nelson on the farm to discuss the correction and "to offer him technical assistance in doing so."
On Jan. 7, 2011, the Agency issued an order to Nelson for "failing to abide by the agreement to correct the discharges...."
On Nov. 18, 2011, on March 20, 2012, and again on June 4, 2012, the complaint alleges, employees of the Agency observed that the problem was not fixed and the matter was referred to the Vermont Attorney General for action.
According to Assistant Attorney General Michael Duane, the defendant had a deadline of Sept. 10 to file an answer to the complaint but never did.
A member of the Richard Nelson family told the Newport Daily Express that Richard Nelson had not worked the farm in question, located on 927 Coventry Station Road, for at least four years and the cows had been removed at that time. The family member stated that Cy Nelson now has management of that farm.
The farm, according to Duane, is part of Nelson Farms, which is reportedly owned by members of the Nelson family. When asked why the office had not filed the complaint against the owner of the property, Nelson Farms, Duane stated that he could not comment on that decision.
Duane was questioned as to whether he was aware that Richard Nelson no longer operated the farm. His response was that, to the best of his knowledge, Richard Nelson was operating the farm through 2011 when Agency employees met to work out an agreement for rectifying the leachate problem.
"Our complaint speaks for itself," Duane said. "If he (Richard Nelson) answers and says the facts aren't accurate, then we'll deal with it."
Duane said he had not had personal contact with Nelson but believed ANR employees had.
The Newport Express was not able to obtain more information from ANR prior to publication.

Comments

Corporate Farms

September 21, 2012 by Voice-Of-Truth (not verified), 1 year 44 weeks ago
Comment: 534

Firstly I remind people of the significant USDA subsidy payments the Nelson family receives on an annual basis, secondly is the milk susidies by the local Co-Op. Take that into account and quite frankly there is no finger pointing required. I don't care which Nelson family member/relative is running this supposed farm, fact is pollution is pollution, period. Most farmers in this state are NOT "salt of the earth" as the old saying goes, that era has gone by.
Fact is numerous farms in this area are Corporations. If the public knew just how little the Nelson actually paid in Federal income taxes it would infuriate most people. That being said, how about the use of arsenic in the hoof pools that the freestall cows walk through prior to the milking parlor, hell I guess that doesn't matter either, that is unless it hits the press an abutting property owner becomes seriously ill. There is NOT enough monitoring of large farming operations in this state, how to correct that is to bring the inspection and monitoring process out of the hands of Dept of Agriculture and set up a more accountable process.

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