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Wisconsin Begins Using Cheese To De-Ice Roads

timothy posted about a year ago | from the venezuelan-beaver-cheese dept.

Transportation 139

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The NYT reports that Milwaukee has begun a pilot program to use cheese brine to keep city roads from freezing, mixing the dairy waste with traditional rock salt as a way to trim costs and ease pollution. 'You want to use provolone or mozzarella,' says Jeffrey A. Tews, the fleet operations manager for the public works department, which has spread the cheesy substance in Bay View, a neighborhood on Milwaukee's south side. 'Those have the best salt content. You have to do practically nothing to it.' Local governments across the country have been experimenting with cheaper and environmentally friendly ways of thawing icy thoroughfares, trying everything from sugar beet juice to discarded brewery grain in an attempt to limit the use of road salt, which can spread too thin, wash away and pollute waterways. 'If you put dry salt on a roadway, you typically lose 30 percent to bounce and traffic,' says Emil Norby, who works for Polk County and was the first in Wisconsin to come up with the cheese brine idea to help the salt stick. In a state where lawmakers once honored the bacterium in Monterey Jack as the state's official microbe, residents of Bay View say they have noticed little difference, good or bad, in the smell of their streets, and city officials say they have received no complaints. The mayor of Bay View says it's an experiment, but one that makes sense. The brine will come from the Dresser Farm in Polk County, where it is already being used on the roads. The only cost will be for transportation and distribution. 'We thought, 'Well, let's give it a shot.' The investment in this project is $1,474.'"

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Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804605)

I'm at a loss for words lmao.

Re:Heh (2)

Wing_Zero (692394) | about a year ago | (#45806461)

I live in Wisconsin, and we tend to do a lot of "Second Run" Re purposing, I makes sense, Its already there, so why not?

I know the freeway salters already use a thick slurry salt mix that not only speeds the melting process, but also stays put alot better on bridges and such. I don't know what is exactly in the mix, but i seem to recall the mix is just as safe as pure salt.

Other than cost savings though, I wouldn't call it a eco benefit. It's still going to wash away into the ground and local water, I remember a article in the Milwaukee journal a few years back that some of the smaller ponds and lakes in the Madison area were starting to show a dangerous salinity level for the local wildlife. (they tend to over salt the roads a bit according to the article)

I live in the Northwoods, and what the county does here is salt right after the snow ends, and after that it's sand. a bit more economical, they just send a street sweeper out early spring and collect what hasnt washed away and reuse it

Re:Heh (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#45806991)

use what you have...

First Post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804611)

Great idea!

Nice to read something inspiring for a change.

"$1,474?" said the Federal Government, (0)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#45804623)

"Are you sure that's not just a rounding error?"

Re:"$1,474?" said the Federal Government, (3, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | about a year ago | (#45804783)

not the federal the county government. and yes I bet that is legit for the initial test.

They were probably given the brine for free so the company wouldn't have to dispose of it legally. which would also cost a couple of thousand of dollars.

Re:"$1,474?" said the Federal Government, (1)

horm (2802801) | about a year ago | (#45804853)

I normally don't do this, but, "Woosh!"

Re:"$1,474?" said the Federal Government, (1)

Optimal Cynic (2886377) | about a year ago | (#45804985)

It's the OP's fault for putting content in the subject and not in the body.

Re:"$1,474?" said the Federal Government, (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#45805009)

Yeah, but if you mod him down it'll all appear together on one line.

Re:"$1,474?" said the Federal Government, (1)

Optimal Cynic (2886377) | about a year ago | (#45805053)

Except I can't use my mod points now I've posted :)

Re:"$1,474?" said the Federal Government, (3, Funny)

glavenoid (636808) | about a year ago | (#45805345)

Don't worry, I'll mod it for you.

Re:"$1,474?" said the Federal Government, (1)

neoform (551705) | about a year ago | (#45805713)

You can't mod and comment...

Re:"$1,474?" said the Federal Government, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805861)

You can't mod and comment...

Sock puppets can.

Re:"$1,474?" said the Federal Government, (1)

mcneely.mike (927221) | about a year ago | (#45806089)

I normally don't do this, but, "Woosh!"

ho80 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804663)

myself. This isn't a change to free-loving climate butts are exposed Apple too. No, bllodfarts. FreeBSD NetBSD user lost its earlier

Re:ho80 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804763)

Fuck you, bitch.

Side-effects (1)

c (8461) | about a year ago | (#45804773)

I have a feeling the roadkill rate might go up a bit, and I'd hate to think about trying to walk my dogs on a sidewalk or street coated with processed dairy...

Re:Side-effects (4, Funny)

ElementOfDestruction (2024308) | about a year ago | (#45804791)

Are your dogs lactose intolerant? Hipster freaking dogs with their allergy-of-the-month syndromes...

Re:Side-effects (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804873)

Yes, just like 70% of adult humans and all the other adult mammals on planet earth.

Re: Side-effects (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805683)

[Citation needed]

70% would mean that 7 out of every 10 people I know would be lactose intolerant. However, that ratio for me is more like 1 in every 100.

So either I'm an extreme statistical outlier or you're spouting bullshit. Guess which one I'm betting it is?

Re: Side-effects (2)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year ago | (#45806307)

90% of the people you know are probably White. If you based world population trends on the area where you live you probably think most people in the world are White, followed by Blacks. Reality is most of the world population is Asian.

This is why so many U.S. science and medical studies fall under the W.E.I.R.D problem

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/05/weird_psychology_social_science_researchers_rely_too_much_on_western_college.html [slate.com]

Re: Side-effects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45806327)

You know mostly white people. White people are the statistical outlier.

Also, 1% lactose intolerance is low even for white people, so even beyond that you are still a statistical outlier.

70% would mean that 7 out of every 10 people I know would be lactose intolerant.

Not true at all. Much more than 70% of people who have ever lived died before you were born. That does not mean that 7 out of 10 people you know died before you were born, does it?

It's genetic. It's not a complete roll of the dice.

This said, lactose intolerance is a bit of a range, not a binary. The 70% figure, as I understand it, requires an inclusive definition of intolerance, and a more conservative figure worldwide may be half that. Still note it's rare to not be lactose intolerant in China and parts of Africa and Southeast Asia.

Re: Side-effects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45806465)

This said, lactose intolerance is a bit of a range, not a binary.

Sure - there's a difference between making bad jokes at lactose's expense and donning a white sheet.

But it'll be 2014 in a few days.

It's time to end lactose bigotry.

Re:Side-effects (1)

kernelpanicked (882802) | about a year ago | (#45806249)

Here I am with mod points, but there doesn't seem to be a -1 Dumbass option in the dropdown.

Re:Side-effects (1)

c (8461) | about a year ago | (#45804989)

They're probably as lactose intolerant as the rest of the canine population. But the real problem is that they're more than a little bit food driven, and one's a hound.

Re:Side-effects (1)

reub2000 (705806) | about a year ago | (#45807365)

Cheese doesn't contain lactose

Re:Side-effects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804797)

wisconsin is already the road kill capital... at least it's smaller critters that will be attracted to cheese on the highway instead of deer or bears or cows (yes, there's a high rate of car vs cow in wisconsin).

Use Ramen instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804789)

It's 99% salt and dirt cheap.

Spiked tyres and featered tread and higher silicon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804793)

Easy, fit better tyres to your car for winter and better training to drive on ice / snow.

We dont salt our roads, we use spiked winter tyres here and snow ploughs.

Re:Spiked tyres and featered tread and higher sili (1)

Longjmp (632577) | about a year ago | (#45804939)

Better tyres yes, spiked tyres depends.
They make sense in areas/countries with low population density and snow covered roads.
On mostly ice/snow free streets they wear down any pavement quite fast, resulting in street repair costs magnitudes higher than the initial savings during winter.
That and they are really shitty compared to normal tyres when you brake.

Re:Spiked tyres and featered tread and higher sili (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805311)

Why are you driving on the pavement?

Re:Spiked tyres and featered tread and higher sili (1)

burne (686114) | about a year ago | (#45805509)

Pavement (material), the durable surfacing of roads and walkways;

Re: Spiked tyres and featered tread and higher sil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805555)

This article is about Wisconsin roads. Wisconsin is in the US where pavement is a building material. Pedestrians walk on side walks. By the way, cars in the US don't use tyers either, they use tires. And snow is cleared using plows not ploughs.

Re:Spiked tyres and featered tread and higher sili (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804947)

Southern Wisconsin gets less snow than previous places I've lived. Outside of one or two large storms every winter, the amount of snow is quite light, and within an hour or two the major streets are plowed. Salt isn't going to help when you have 4 inches of slush on the road, but an easy soluthion when you are just trying to clear up light stuff and a bit of ice when the temperature is bouncing above and below freezing

Re: Spiked tyres and featered tread and higher sil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805575)

Depends where you live. Milwaukee gets more snow because it is near the lake. The last few years that I lived in Milwaukee we got over 10 ft of snowfall in a season. That is lower than many places in Canada or the north east US, but still a lot of snow.

Re: Spiked tyres and featered tread and higher sil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805613)

I guess it depends where in Milwaukee you live too, as the average at the airport and where I am just north of the city, not too far from the lake, is less than 5 ft a season. The record set about 5 years ago was closer to maybe 8 ft, and even that year there were only 2 or 3 storms that were more than a couple inches in a day.

Re:Spiked tyres and featered tread and higher sili (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about a year ago | (#45806219)

And then that 4 inches of slush gets compressed and frozen into a 1 inch thick slab of ice (covered in a layer of powdered ice)

Re:Spiked tyres and featered tread and higher sili (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about a year ago | (#45806179)

Spiked tires and tire chains are actually illegal to use in Wisconsin, except for emergency vehicles and rural mail carriers.

The best you can use there is regular soft-rubber snow tires

Makes sense (1)

amanaplanacanalpanam (685672) | about a year ago | (#45804801)

After all, they say "do what you know"...

Slippery (1)

fatp (1171151) | about a year ago | (#45804803)

Won't this make the road even more slippery?

Headline sucks (4, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#45804827)

The content says brine, the salty water left over from cheesemaking.

cheese vs cheese brine (4, Funny)

csumpi (2258986) | about a year ago | (#45804833)

timothy, if that's the same to you, have some with crackers.

Re:cheese vs cheese brine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804869)

Brine is delicious, you insensitive clod.

Re:cheese vs cheese brine (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#45805685)

Brine is delicious, you insensitive clod.

You shrimp.

Re:cheese vs cheese brine (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45806003)

You seem to think he's in a pickle of some sort.

streets are literally paved with food (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804849)

Meanwhile poor people are starving. How can you possibly justify being so wasteful? Let me guess, irresponsibly wasteful American children who threw entire uneaten school lunches in the garbage have grown up to become irresponsibly wasteful American adults.

Re:streets are literally paved with food (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804959)

modded down by pampered Americans who will gleefully watch The Hunger Games but have never been hungry

Re:streets are literally paved with food (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805205)

Or modded down by people who wouldn't want to be so cruel as to feed cheese brine to the poor. Are you going to complain we mistreat poor people by not giving them seawater when they are thirsty?

Re:streets are literally paved with food (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805021)

I would think people living on the street would appreciate food placed in their home. Anyway, it's brine, not cheese. It's got what homeless crave.

Re:streets are literally paved with food (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805469)

Here, have a nice tall glass of cheese brine! That'll make you less hungry, right? You want to solve world hunger? Stop eating you stupid fuck and kill yourself.

Why? A cheesemaker's POV... (5, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year ago | (#45804863)

As a professional cheesemaker, (yes, one of the blessed variety), the first question that comes to my mind is:

Why are these people throwing out their brine? This seems an unnecessarily costly exercise.

It is typical practice in many cheese factories (and all of those in which I've worked) to keep and re-use brine (sometimes for decades), with routine and simple maintenance such as topping up salt levels, adjustment of pH, filtration to remove solids and occasional pasteurisation if required.

A "raw" brine of just NaCl and water will, of course, do the job of salting your cheese, but most of the salt is left in solution at the end of the brining process (so it doesn't make sense to throw it away), and the pH will have a tendency to bounce around, adversely affecting the properties of your cheese. The various whey products in a re-used brine help to stabilise the pH, so one usually only needs to top up salt to replace that absorbed by the cheese.

Re:Why? A cheesemaker's POV... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804943)

Well, obviously it's not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products

Re:Why? A cheesemaker's POV... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804967)

As an amateur cocksucker, what is your opinion on smegma aka dickcheese?

Re:Why? A cheesemaker's POV... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805127)

If cheese brine is just NaCl in water, how is this more environment friendly than throwing salt on ice roads. I presume they would normally use NaCl as the salt they put on roads. Am I missing something?

I do know in Europe we have a few organic de-icing agents that work quite well (except they make the tram rails slippery in Amsterdam).

Re:Why? A cheesemaker's POV... (2)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#45805247)

It wouldn't work so well around here, since NaCl brine freezes at 0F
Low temps for the next three nights are forcast at -20F
And we already had one -24F night this winter
(I live west of Wisconsin)

Cold (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805261)

Thats a heat wave

When I were a lad in Yorkshire, it used to get down to -25 Kelvin, and our mother would give us a cup of liquid Helium to warm us up...

Re:Cold (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805393)

He's not bragging. Lots of places are too cold for salt brine, likely including most of WI. Hence the sanding trucks and ice grooving machines.

Re:Why? A cheesemaker's POV... (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about a year ago | (#45806275)

Salt water is better than dry salt, it's free to the local government, and the brine would have to be disposed of somewhere anyway.

Re:Why? A cheesemaker's POV... (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#45805533)

It is typical practice in many cheese factories (and all of those in which I've worked) to keep and re-use brine (sometimes for decades), with routine and simple maintenance such as topping up salt levels, adjustment of pH, filtration to remove solids and occasional pasteurisation if required.

Realistically, seeing as the engineering problem is the loss from dropping salt in it's solid form wouldn't any kind of brine or saline solution do as long as it didn't freeze. It doesn't necessarily have to be from cheese. Not that this matters to me where I live, it was 32 Degrees Celsius here in Perth, Australia today. Just curious, would brine reuse be done at factories that mass produce the yellow plastic masquerading as cheese at the supermarket? I'm not a cheesemaker but have a bit of experience with beer, a national mass producer has a radically different brewing style to a local producer.

Smell? (3)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#45804867)

I could imagine this smelling pretty horrible, particularly come summer.

Re:Smell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804879)

Milwaukee doesn't have icy roads in summer.

Re:Smell? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804953)

Parent is suggesting that the current lack of smell might be due to the low temperatures freezing the more odorous molecules. (Or retarding odorous bacteria that feed on the solution.) And thus once the temperatures rise, all that cheesy-brine on or near the roads will start to whiff up.

Re:Smell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805057)

It could be an improvement. Have you ever smelled Milwaukee in the summertime? It's a cross between cow patty and beer fart.

Re: Smell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805605)

Still smells better than Chicago which is only slightly less pugnant than Gary Indiana.

Re: Smell? (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45805647)

All of which are pale shadows of Decatur Illinois.

ADM processes something like 50% of the world soy in Decatur. The whole town smells like a tofu eater puked in the corner.

Re: Smell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45806203)

Usually a few days a year, when the summer wind is just right, I can smell Decatur over 40 miles to the north on my motorcycle commute to work.

Re: Smell? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45807383)

Enough reason to move.

Re:Smell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805059)

Because CO2, gasoline and pollution smell so much better anyway

Re:Smell? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#45805061)

Your step parent is suggesting an attempt at one-liner humor.

Likely your scientific evaluation missed salt's inherent ability to retard bacterial feeding.

Re:Smell? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about a year ago | (#45805657)

Parent is(n't) clarifying that the brine will be washed long after the summer comes.

Re:Smell? (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year ago | (#45805003)

Well, yes, it would probably smell pretty bad if they were to spread this on the roads in the summertime. However, as an Anonymous Coward pointed out, they don't have much of a problem with ice on the roads in the summer in Milwaukee. In addition, it is unlikely that the brine they spread on the roads during the winter will still be there by the time the weather gets warm enough to cause a smell problem.

Re:Smell? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#45805829)

If you spread this stuff in the billions of gallons all over the state, I do no care when you do it, the entire state is going to smell.

Re:Smell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45806101)

If you spread this stuff in the billions of gallons all over the state, I do no care when you do it, the entire state is going to smell.

Yes, if they use billions of gallons it would smell, but seriously, you're off by so many order of magnitude it's silly.

Re:Smell? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year ago | (#45806355)

As the Anonymous Coward pointed out, it is unlikely that they will spread this in anywhere near that scale. Pennsylvania, for example, uses somewhere on the order of 200,000 gallons of brine in a winter. Wisconsin is a larger state than Pennsylvania and I believe they experience more snow than Pennsylvania, on the other hand, Pennsylvania has more miles of road than Wisconsin. Altogether, I would be surprised if Wisconsin used 500,000 gallons, even if they expand this program to the entire state.

Cheese brine != cheese (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804885)

It's actually a waste product that is mostly salt water.. but thanks for the usual Slashdot quality journalism.

Re:Cheese brine != cheese (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804971)

don't blame slashdot editors for this one.. the article at the new york fucking times uses "cheese" (only, not paired with 'brine') in its own headline.

Re:Cheese brine != cheese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805073)

Cool, so editors are not responsible for checking content then, just like the ones from NYFT then. Journalism quality seems equal then.

Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804915)

Cheese, you say? [tumblr.com]

cover the desert with cheese curds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45804961)

just an emergency stop-gap plan, millions of genuine ally innocents starving stuck in the mud diaper addicts would live to tell of our good deeds. free the innocent stem cells. interact virtually as though the moms are watching using 'new' chat guidelines. we love you uncle sam hope you feel better soon (or something)

Typo in headline (4, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year ago | (#45804999)

They are using cheese brine, not the cheese itself. The brine has salt in it but is mostly not cheese.

Cats (5, Funny)

symes (835608) | about a year ago | (#45805035)

They are going to have a problem with mice on the roads. What will the spray to deal with the mice? Fish. The fish will attract cats who will eat the mice. But then there will be a cat problem, so they will have to spray ... anyway, I am sure that the old woman who swallowed a fly is consulting. So all is well.

Re:Cats (1)

dkf (304284) | about a year ago | (#45805297)

They are going to have a problem with mice on the roads. What will the spray to deal with the mice? Fish. The fish will attract cats who will eat the mice. But then there will be a cat problem, so they will have to spray ...

You obviously don't know cats; they like cheese too. Or at least our cats do. That means you can save on the fish spray...

Re:Cats (4, Funny)

Megane (129182) | about a year ago | (#45805671)

And when winter comes, the gorillas will simply freeze to death.

Re:Cats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805915)

Thank you, Principal Skinner.

Just for fun....Add Macaroni (1)

ClassicASP (1791116) | about a year ago | (#45805087)

I bet there's plenty of leftover dry-noodle-dust somewhere that could be thrown into the mix.

Whey too expensive (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805121)

Although I suppose it curd work.

Re:Whey too expensive (3, Funny)

karnal (22275) | about a year ago | (#45805189)

Where there's a wheel there's a whey.

Re:Whey too expensive (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45806047)

Cheesy humor to be sure.

Re:Whey too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45806623)

Were theirs a wheel theyre's a whey.

FTFY

Bay View is a neighborhood, not a city! (1)

Noxal (816780) | about a year ago | (#45805201)

Bay View is not a city! It's a neighborhood of Milwaukee! Summary starts by saying this but then just descends into ignorance by talking about the mayor of Bay View. There is no mayor of a neighborhood!

Also I am a native Milwaukee resident and I support this. Cheese that shit up, bitch. As long as it doesn't damage anything or stink or leave a nasty residue.

Re:Bay View is a neighborhood, not a city! (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#45805383)

Also I am a native Milwaukee resident and I support this.

No surprise.

Milky Way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805203)

I guess people can finally drive in the Milky Way without the need for a space craft. Hooray!

Obligatory Sheogorath cry... (2)

Gareth Iwan Fairclough (2831535) | about a year ago | (#45805603)

CHEESE FOR EVERYONE!!!!

Use of whey (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45805681)

I've encountered the use of what I was told was a whey solution being sprayed on roads to keep down the dust in summer. As I recall that did smell a bit.

Why cheese brine? (1)

tramp (68773) | about a year ago | (#45805775)

I suppose cheese brine uses consumergrade salt while a mixture of rock salt and brine has been known as de-icing method for quite a while now.

More nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45805809)

"as a way to trim costs and ease pollution."

http://www.nrdc.org/water/pollution/ffarms.asp

etc.etc.

Do you know why you're NOT vegan?

In other news... (1)

LeeBarnes (473092) | about a year ago | (#45806255)

cheese shortages at local cheese shops leads to widespread cat famine.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) works great (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about a year ago | (#45806885)

Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) works great. We've been using CMA for three years on our farm. It is non-toxic, doesn't damage concrete, doesn't corrode steel, won't hurt plants, aquatic life or pigs (what we raise on pasture) so it is pretty ideal.

The down side is that CMA is more expensive than road salt. I feel the extra cost is worth it to protect the environment, our livestock, our buildings and our vehicles.

See these articles
http://www.google.com/search?q=site:sugarmtnfarm.com+cma [google.com]

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