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: http://dnr.wi.gov/... 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.