The William H. Miner

Agricultural Research Institute

Miner Institute
Farm Report


In the June Farm Report I updated readers on Vermont legislative action about the use of formaldehyde in footbaths on dairy farms. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture and Department of Health were working with federal authorities at the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to collect data during the month of May and monitor air quality on and near farms where formaldehyde footbaths were used. In early October, Vermont Department of Health and Human Services posted the results of their study here.

In a nutshell, this study found there was no evidence that the spreading of manure from farms that use formaldehyde in their footbaths influenced either indoor or outdoor air concentrations of formaldehyde when compared to farms that don’t use formaldehyde footbaths. The website for the Vermont Health Department states that the results “indicate that the current use of formaldehyde foot baths on farms, disposal into manure pits, and manure spreading on fields, does not contribute to elevated levels of formaldehyde in air. Spreading manure that has been mixed with formaldehyde from foot baths is not expected to result in acute health effects.” A full report for the study is available at the above website.

Kudos go out to the Vermont legislature, Vermont Agency of Agriculture and especially the Vermont Health Department for approaching this issue with sensibility and not overreacting to the vocalization of a few individuals trying to create a “cause and effect” where no scientific data was provided or available. What a breath of fresh air!

— Katie Ballard

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The Miner Institute Farm Report is written primarily for farmers and other agricultural professionals in the Northeastern U.S. and Eastern Canada. Most articles deal with dairy and crops topics, but also included are articles dealing with environmental issues and global agriculture as well as editorial commentary.

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The William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute
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