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You knew it would happen. Just like that (snap!)the DATCP sited a Livestock CAFO and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources permitted the largest Big Ag Dairy in the state to become a reality. Another four thousand dairy cows and one hundred fifty beef cows move into Rosendale Dairy. After several years of hearing about the possibility and two years of organizing protests against the inevitable onslaught of Big, another rural place became befouled by someone’s definition of progress--an 11,500 head dairy CAFO. Maybe you read it in the paper last weekend.  

The pictures really don't tell the whole story. You can't smell this nor realize how many of millions of gallons of water are being taken from your groundwater for this many cattle.(30 to 50 gallons per day for drinking times 11,000 cows is roughly 1/2 million gallons per day) Or what's being put back into the soil along with the other wastes coming from this herd.

The impact to the area remains to be seen. Sociologists tell us that it’s a classic case of the powerful versus the powerless. Rural areas are most prone to this type of takeover. Money is the issue. This producer said it would cost $100 Million Dollars to build and would bring endless prosperity and job opportunity to an undeveloped part of the State. Who pays to get officials elected? Who pays salaries of bureaucrats at the State Capitol? Who provides stable jobs for rural folk in a fragile economy? [[ />]

Sure, it’s nice to sit along the once vast glacial lake Oshkosh of yesterday. A few years ago, literally, grand vistas were covered with prairie grasslands, low marsh wetlands, and 137 different invertebrate species. It could have been developed as a nature center, a quiet place. Or better—left alone. But, the Fond du Lac County overseers found a better paycheck--dairy. In fact, Fond du Lac County wants to be the leader in Big Ag Dairy in the State. They are getting help from the Department of Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Livestock Siting Rule, the WDNR and Big Ag.
  The question still remains. What happens to the estimated 92 million gallons of manure from this CAFO? Or as John Prine croons, "a question ain’t really a question, when you know the answer too." The fine fellows who "have been milking cows before they learned to ride a bike" (their words) are doing everything necessary to take care of the environment. Okay, let’s leave it at that. You and I won’t hear of any "minor" problems with well-water, soil or air contamination. It will be swept under the proverbial rug. We just have to sit back and let nature take it’s course.
  Once last note: at a hearing this week relative to other runoff pollution matters, the head of the Department, Gordon Stephenson, said "we don’t need enforcement. We see total cooperation and want people to police this themselves." So, there you have it. Stop by the local drinking hole if you’re in the area. We have plenty of good, clean polluted runoff. We’ll share it.

Lastly, this just in today's mail:

Thank you for your interest in the WPDES permit modification proposed for Rosendale Dairy LLC.  The Department approved the permit modification on January 22, 2010.
You were among a large group of concerned citizens that expressed views, both positive and negative, about the facility expanding to become the largest dairy farm in Wisconsin with a total of 8,000 dairy cattle.  While the comments the Department received were rather broadly focused, the permit modification was narrowly-focused on these three issues: 1) An increase in the maximum number of animals; 2) Potential future reductions in frequency of groundwater monitoring at the production area; and 3) Evaluation of a feed pond area and an associated vegetated treatment system.
Please see the Rosendale Dairy permit modification documents on our web site at:  The Notice of Final Determination contains a summary of public comments and responses.  Although all comments received on or before December 10, 2009, were summarized for the record, only responses to comments that specifically addressed the above-listed three issues were included in the Notice of Final Determination.

Originally posted to harvstpt on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 09:13 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Where are the aliens when you need them? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sounds like a mass abduction would be in order.

    actual footage of abductions

  •  Within smelling distance. (0+ / 0-)

    Start a campaign to get anyone that approved the complex out of office.

    I know the damage is done but it would bring the power back to the people.

    "Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all" Andrew Carnegie

    by pantherq on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 10:16:47 PM PST

  •  Big Ag survives due to Big Demand.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerry Melton, hei

    Find your local Farmer's Market.  Find a local small, sustainable dairy producing Farmstead cheese and butter.  Find the 4H family down the road producing small amounts of high quality milk.  Join a CSA.  Buy 1/2 a pig or 1/4 of a grass fed beef from a small farmer.  Learn where your food comes from.

    Until the demand for locally produced goods coming from sustainable farms equals or surpasses the demand for mass produced ag products of dubious quality, there will be more and more of these large factory farms.  Rules and regulations will continue to be enacted that favor large factory farms to the detriment of small farmers who can't afford to meet the ever more stringent rules for them, while large farms are exempted.

    Create the demand for better.  I am a small farmer, making cheese from our small, lovingly cared for herd of dairy goats, selling our cheese at Farmer's Markets, directly to customers who love us, support us and come out to find us rain or shine.  Without the demand for our products we couldn't do it.  We couldn't survive.  Create the demand for more and better sustainably produced food and that's what will change the direction of American Agriculture.

    •  Where in Oregon, Do you sell at 5th street (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in Eugene or ...?

      I am so with you. I grew up on tenant farms in the midwest ... Corn, wheat, dairy and turkey farms. I have never understood why small farmers were so supportive of the corporate party. The corporate farms are killing the small ones who produce quality food.

      The inhumanity and brutality of corporate farms is shocking. While I need to eat I will not brutalize other life forms on the way to the table. It's like a hunter shooting an elk and then proceeding to butcher it while it is incapicitated but still alive.

      If you could list the rules and regulations and who enforces them. Are they state or county or federal? I would sure like to get involved in fighting this crap. And if you are close I would love to buy some good cheese.

      Grayson for President 2016

      by boophus on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 11:13:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If you are serious about improving public health (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ganymeade, Jerry Melton, WoolStreet

    and especially about saving the environment, you really should make an effort to reduce your beef consumption.

    Replacing two or three hamburger or steak meals a week with turkey, chicken, or vegetarian options saves acres and acres of land, gallons and gallons of water, and cuts down on greenhouse gasses.

    •  Rearing beef in a sustainable manner (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexandra Lynch, Jerry Melton

      cuts down on a lot of this stuff too.  That's my focus.  I want to reward the good farmers, some of whom have beef.

      Proudly eukaryotic since 1980.

      by hei on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 10:46:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Most cattle ranches will raise them for a few (0+ / 0-)

        months then ship them out to feed lots. Parsing the "good" ones seems nigh impossible.

        They still require tons(literally) of water.

        •  None of the ones who do that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          are good ones.

          Proudly eukaryotic since 1980.

          by hei on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 06:31:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How many are good ones? Number? (0+ / 0-)
            •  I don't know (0+ / 0-)

              how many beef producers have small herds that are raised and finished on grass and how that number compares to beef producers that finish on corn locally or sell calves to feedlots.  The former is what I mean by "good farmers" and is the practice I like to support, and it is a practice which I think can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel input, and ecological degradation associated with conventional modern beef practices.  Obviously the number of cattle raised this way is much smaller than the number of cattle in feedlots eating corn.  However, at least here in my part of Iowa, it is not difficult to find farmers rearing grass-fed cattle.

              And yes, cattle require a lot of water.  In areas without water shortage, I don't think that in itself is an ecological disaster.  If you've got some suggested reading on that, though, or any of this, I'll check it out.  I'm not an expert.

              Proudly eukaryotic since 1980.

              by hei on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 11:45:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  One person's water excess is another's shortage (0+ / 0-)

                downstream. It isn't just the water they drink. It's the water used to produce their feed. It's the resources used to produce and transport feed. It's the amount ofantibiotics used, and the side effects from overusing them

    •  Isn't it 12,000 gallons for a pound of beef? (0+ / 0-)
  •  This is completel disgusting and awful. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerry Melton

    Thanks for posting this diary.  Agricultural sustainability is really important to me, but politically I don't know where to direct my energy.

    Proudly eukaryotic since 1980.

    by hei on Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 10:54:49 PM PST

  •  But they pee and pooh alot of the water back out (0+ / 0-)

    right? According to beef producers anyway, that's their form of water reclamation.

  •  Are they worse than pig farms? (0+ / 0-)

    the 30,000 prototype that feature such delights as exploding pigshit geysers and enough foul runoff to kill everything in Chesapeake Bay?

  •  ah that smell (0+ / 0-)

    we have CAFOs with pigs around here, but not in my county, at least, and the smell where there are ones is so bad, it has slowed down the approvals for new ones.

  •  I don't see any pics and I'm a city boy... (0+ / 0-)

    Is this what you mean by a CAFO?  It's the first thing the Googles shot back, so I'm sure there are better explanations.

    I know we've dealt with (and sometimes successfully) extremely heinous mega egg fly farms here in Central Ohio, so I can understand on that level at least.

    Maybe we should send in Michael Steele to stand on the tracks...

    Truth in advertising: "Texas - It's Like A Whole Other Country!"

    by here4tehbeer on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 01:02:49 AM PST

  •  Coming from an actual cowboy... (0+ / 0-)

    A significant portion of my income comes from beef cattle.  That said, I find the big corporate agricultural setups like this to be pretty disgusting.

    In anything resembling free-range cattle, the water concerns are there, but nothing on this scale.  It all depends on rain and other natural water sources, such as rivers or what-have-you.  Manure isn't a problem, it's naturally recycled into fertilizer.  When you get down to it, all it really is is grass with some new bacteria (which help the decomp process), something like seventy percent of the grass is usually passed through the cow's system without being digested -- they're not all that much better at digesting than we are.

    Add up all the cattle raised in the US by small to even large cattle ranchers and you have fewer animals around than there were once bison roaming on their own.  The big corporate raisers put more animals in less space than nature could have ever imagined -- were nature able to actually imagine anything.

    That's what causes the problem: more cattle in one place than nature can handle -- either with feed and water, or in reclaiming manure (plus all those additives to the food, but that's a whole other diary).

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