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The contamination casts a very long shadow over New Mexico’s all-important dairy business – the leading agricultural industry in the state, generating more than $1.3bn annually. Curry county, where Schaap farms, is one of the nation’s top 20 counties for milk production. Home to 82,000 milk cows, it boasts 25 dairies that sell more than 1.9 billion pounds of milk around the country.

Schaap’s dairy is ground zero, but this may soon change. The toxic plume is spreading slowly and inexorably – not only under Schaap’s fields but across the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest aquifer in the nation, which spans 174,000 miles and parts of eight states.
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