"With a plan to expand a concentrated animal feeding operation in the town of Rock Creek, a Dunn County committee believes it is time for it to determine what impacts such operations could have on the county. The Planning Resources and Development Committee on Tuesday decided to ask county staff to look into the issue of concentrated animal feeding operations and report back on their findings. Committee Chairman Tom Quinn said he has had numerous calls from citizens and other county supervisors about what the county’s role is — if it has one — in such operations....."
Supervisor: Action on large-scale livestock operations will let stakeholders talk about issue.
MENOMONIE — The Dunn County Board on Wednesday, with a voice vote, approved a six-month moratorium on the licensing or any expansion greater than 20 percent on large-scale livestock operations with at least 1,000 animal units.
KEWAUNEE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) – Recent rainfall has left one Kewaunee County couple with tainted water. Not only is it undrinkable, but you wouldn’t want to wash your dishes or shower in it. Rob and Erika Balza live about a mile outside Luxemburg. When they went to brush their teeth before bed last night, they saw brown water that smelled like manure coming out of their bathroom faucet. The brown, murky water is also in their toilets.
"Most of our elected officials will tell the voter that they believe in local control but actually vote to eliminate local control," Smith said. "Who knows better about the need for clean air, clean water, and quality of life than those who live next to these enlarging factory farms? It is important that we have representatives in government who represent the people and their needs rather than the good of corporations who are taking over our farming industry."
Emerald Dairy originally installed a state-of-the-art digester to separate manure solids & liquids in hopes of reducing contaminates in liquids being released back to the environment and solids to be re-used for bedding for the cows. However, the digester has proven problematic, with the equipment starting fires on two separate occasions - once in 2009 in which it destroyed other equipment housed in the same building and also in 2014, rendering the digester useless, thus it was permanently taken off-line and remains so to this day. Now, Emerald Sky Dairy, under new ownership, is back to spreading the manure much like our grandfathers did - without the technologically advanced pre-treatment that Emerald Dairy had done in the past.
Thanks to Tommy Thompson's success nearly 20 years before in making the DNR secretary a gubernatorial appointment and Doyle's failure to overturn it, one of Walker's first acts was to make an outspoken critic of the DNR, former state Sen. Cathy Stepp, the department's new secretary. It's been downhill ever since. The department has been complicit in weakening permitting regulations. An audit has found it derelict in enforcing its own policies when dealing with polluters. Large animal-feeding operations, CAFOs, have gone virtually unchecked. The science services division was dismantled. Large cutbacks were made in the staffs that deal with hunting and fishing.
Kewaunee County CAFOs generate and land-apply over 340 million gallons of untreated liquefied manure and 81,332 tons of untreated solid manure annually to the county’s cropland (Mueller, 2014). At current rates, Kewaunee County dairies and its small beef cattle herd disposes of over 12.4 million pounds of nitrogen annually, exceeding the crop nutrient uptake capability of county farmland by more than 1.15 million pounds each year (Petition for Emergency Action Pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act, 42 U.S.C. §300i, 2014). This excess nitrogen, once a potentially valuable crop amendment, is then released into the local environment, where it converts to nitrates at harmful levels that have had devastating effects on the region’s shallow groundwater resources, negatively impacting rural residents’ drinking water wells, local waterways and wetlands. The Rap Sheets: Industrial Dairies in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin, 2015
DNR employees didn’t have time to adequately review annual reports submitted by concentrated animal feeding operations or plans describing how millions of gallons of manure they generate annually would be kept out of lakes, streams and groundwater. The DNR didn’t meet its goals for inspections and failed to document that it took any action for months or even years in five incidents where monitoring wells showed feedlots were contaminating groundwater with substances harmful to human health, auditors said.
"Organizers said that, in part, this meeting is in response to the number of frac sand mines and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) that are not being regulated properly by the DNR and other local bodies, citing reasons of not having enough staff, not having enough funding, and not having enough support from legislators."
Mike Koles, executive director of the Wisconsin Towns Association, said he wasn’t familiar with the case, but if Knutson’s tax assessment was indeed lowered because of the proximity to the hog facility, “it has the potential to open up a can of worms. “We’ve got to look into it a little more, but it has the potential to have broad implications across the state,” Koles said. “I’d be really concerned that we have all these people around farms who are going to make challenges to their assessments.”
While festering in these lagoons, liquefied animal waste often leaches into the groundwater, contaminating neighboring wells and rendering water unsafe for humans and farm animals. When CAFOs spread their waste onto fields, that waste frequently runs off into waterways. The resulting overload of nutrients causes rapid algae growth, which depletes the water of oxygen and kills large numbers of fish and other aquatic life.