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Methane-Gas Related Explosions

Although not the only cause of farm explosions, or even the most common cause of them, methane foam on hog farms has been a mounting concern for farmers across the Midwest. Since 2009, at least six barns throughout the Midwest have exploded since the discovery of this manure foam. In affected areas, this foam can be found in approximately 25 percent of hog farms, leaving farmers near defenseless against the possibility of explosion. These explosions kill thousands of hogs and cause farmers millions in damage.

Bioproducts and biosystems engineering Professor Larry Jacobson describes this gelatin-like material as something that's growth can be curbed, but not yet cured. Foam on top of manure pits and barns began exploding, leaving researchers baffled. Scientists are still trying to figure out the exact cause of this foam. Sometimes the foam can reach up to four feet high and collect dangerous bacteria and gases such as methane. Just a small spark can ignite an explosion. Pork production is a billion dollar industry in many Midwestern states, leaving farmers not only at risk for injury but economic losses as well.

This also brings up the concern of environmental impacts of this methane foam. Many individuals believe that this is a man-made problem arising from the treatment of these pigs on farms. Other findings suggest that the flies and cockroaches that live on these farms may serve as carriers for the antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The foam, even if it doesn't explode, can present a number of different problems that range from reducing manure storage as well as contaminating the hogs. Much research is being done in Minnesota in particular, but the foam is plaguing many farms throughout the Midwest. Some researchers are even saying that a new microorganism species has developed just within the last few years, which could be causing this foam phenomenon.

Could this mystery bacterial foam be harming people in the surrounding community as well? A study was recently released that detailed dangerous pathogens that are beginning to grow on factory farms. Pigs confined on these factory farms often are found to be carrying something called MRSA, which is a type of staph infection that statistically kills more people each year than AIDS. In order to combat the foam, farmers are being encouraged to add dried distiller grains to the hogs' diets as well as the foam, although some suggest these dried distiller grains may be a cause of the foam in the first place, since these grains are a byproduct of ethanol production.

Call Domina Law Group today!

The financial implications of farm explosions are huge. An explosion of this magnitude can leave a hog farm completely destitute, especially with cleanup costing farmers up to $1 million. Because the cause is unsure, liability is difficult to determine for insurance companies, leaving farm owners often paying out of pocket. Methane gas is of course not the only cause of farm explosions throughout the United States. Other factors such as defective equipment, gasoline tanks and oil pipelines can all result in devastating consequences for those in the farming industry.

Our firm has been able to secure multi-million dollar verdicts in more than ten states and have successfully brought more than 300 trials to verdict in both state and federal court. We are trusted time and time again to handle complex agricultural issues such as this. Our achievements in this particular field are unmatched, and we are proud to say that we have successfully represented many clients. Our firm chooses to represent agriculture producers and small, independent agricultural businesses in court. If your farm was struck by an explosion and you are unsure of where to turn, contact Domina Law Group today!

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