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Town of Palmyra Airport and Town Hall
Town of Palmyra Airport and Town Hall
Standard Process produces some of the most highly-respected health and nutrition supplements sold in the country, largely through chiropractors, acupuncturists, and other "alternative" healers.  Here is a bit of trivia, however.  Standard Process has its corporate headquarters, farmland, and processing facility in both the Town and Village of Palmyra, Wisconsin.  And it has used its corporate muscle and threats to try to bully the good people of Palmyra into literally selling it the farm.  More on this run-of-the-mill self-serving corporation after the squiggle.

On February 4, 2013, the Village of Palmyra, Wisconsin, doubled its size and approved the annexation of 740 acres of property from the Town of Palmyra. Included in this annexation was not only 265 acres of farmland owned by small farmers, but also the town's self-supporting airport - and its town hall. Town residents were furious and strongly opposed the annexation for a number of reasons. The state Department of Administration, which renders non-binding opinions on annexations, determined that it was "against the public interest." In fact, the Village of Palmyra did not submit any information to the state about why it would make sense to annex this particular 740 acres. And no village in the state's history has ever annexed an airport. Then why did the Village take this action?

Standard Process, which owns 382 acres of farmland in the annexed section, used its hefty corporate influence to push the Village Board into annexing this land. And the Town of Palmyra is now officially suing the Village for annexing the land against its will for unstated purposes.

About the land:  half of it is prime agricultural land that lies within the Scuppernong Agricultural Enterprise Area (AEA), part of the county's Farmland Preservation Plan. Established in 2010, it required the agreement of landowners and municipal bodies in the Town and the county. According to The Country Today, this act would move the land into a municipality that was not even part of the AEA petition process. And according to an article in The Jefferson County Daily Union, "a significant portion of the land is outside the village's designated urban growth area, as identified in both the village and county land use plans."  

In another article in The Daily Union, Standard Process President Charles DuBois cited two reasons why the company wanted the Village to annex the land. The first is so that its farm facility can have access to the Village's municipal sewer and water services. This is related to the company's plans to build a hotel/conference facility out by its farmland. This is questionable for three reasons.  One, the company's website (Standard Process) boasts that its water source is an artesian aquifer 500 feet below the surface, calling into question its desire to pump in municipal water. Second, the Village's annexation plan makes no mention of whether or how it is going to provide these services to anyone, including Standard Process. And finally, the Village could have annexed a narrow strip or small parcel of land to provide services to the company's farm. Instead, it grabbed 265 acres of prime farmland.

The second reason stated by DuBois is that the company wants to have its processing plant and farmland in the same municipality because "we may be subject to contradictory and inconsistent decision making by municipal governing bodies." Excuse me, but aren't there thousands of companies in this country that have multiple facilities in different municipalities and function perfectly well? If Standard Process is as outstanding a company as it claims to be, I would think that their management team could figure out how to deal with this. And if they can't, perhaps DuBois should fire them.

Vague wording in the Village's annexation plan. "Not in the public interest" according to the Wisconsin Department of Administration.  Questionable reasons given by the company's president in public. I and the good people of the Town of Palmyra smell a rat.

There is a another reason that has not been stated "on the record." DuBois has told local people that he wants that farmland, even if it means getting the Village to condemn it. He has also threatened to move the company if the Village and Town don't do what he wants them to do.

Will these people be able to stay on their farms, one of which has been in the family since the 1840's? (Cool side note: the wallpaper in their dining room was put up in the 1860's!) Based on the Village's current tax structure, the taxes on these landowners could skyrocket. In particular, the Village charges a $25/quarter acre tax for storm water runoff management. Gee, who might buy this land at today's low rates if the current owners can't afford to keep it?  

In short, then, the village annexed farmland so that it could be used as...farmland. Huh? Ah, but whose farmland will it be eventually: the family farmers' or the greedy corporation's?

Nor would several local farmers sell to them. When Standard Process bought its existing farmland, it removed most of the trees and wildlife habitat, especially in a low-lying area where it now apparently grows commercial crops such as oats. Local residents fear it would do the same on any land it purchased. And local organic farmers wonder aloud where Standard Process acquires animal parts for some of its products because it certainly isn't from them.

Jefferson County organic farmer Weenonah Brattset, whose land lies within the Scuppernong AEA, was quoted as saying, "Once the land is annexed, it could be rezoned and anything could happen. There are landowners who have land in the AEA saying if cities and villages can start grabbing that land, why even have AEA's?"  

And what's up with annexing the airport and town hall? They abut the Village's industrial park, where Standard Process has its processing plant. The company has complained that the Town has been uncooperative about runway and other issues and believes that the Village will be much more "reasonable" to deal with. However, the airport manager states that runway plans were in fact altered to accommodate the company's concerns. Oh - and DuBois won't return his calls.

So why does the company really want the Village to take over the airport, especially since Village officials have said it will remain an airport? Does Standard Process need the land for expansion of its facilities? Like every other small town in the country, Palmyra has an abundance of available industrial land. Why not build there? Or does it want the land for additional farmland? Nobody knows, except the folks at Standard Process, and they aren't saying.

And the town hall? The Village wants to grab the town hall? The little white pole building in the picture? Um, why?

All of these unanswered questions have led a lot of people to mistrust the motives of both the Village and Standard Process.

Yes, Standard Process provides a number of jobs in the area. By all accounts, it is a wonderful place to work. However, it is no different from any other corporation that thinks all of this gives it the right to do whatever it wants, regardless of the human consequences.

I suspect many people, myself included, like to think that the products we love come from wonderful corporations that treat everyone with respect and are great neighbors in their communities (Apple, anyone?). People who love Standard Process products - and there are many - will not want to believe that it has acted like a run-of-the-mill corporate bully in this situation. Perhaps they think that the Town Board should have "given them the farm" and said yes to all of the company's requests and demands. Perhaps they can get Standard Process to share its side of the story - the real story...

Because the people in the Town of Palmyra would really like to know the truth.  

Originally posted to Windtalker on Thu May 23, 2013 at 09:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Village of, Town of... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DBunn, Pilotshark, chimene

    What is the governmental heirarchy in this state ???  Are there county governments also?

    Where does the "Village of" derive the authority to annex this land without approval of the voters or the "Town of"?

    I'm curious about the relationships here.  It might make more sense knowing that.



    I screwed up with a careless uprate so I'm a "No Rate" pariah. When I give a comment "+4 n/t", please consider that a recommend. (That's my workaround to participate here). DK haiku, one complete thought in a title field. Roar louder! NR since 3/7/12.

    by Josiah Bartlett on Thu May 23, 2013 at 11:32:50 AM PDT

    •  Hierarchy... (5+ / 0-)

      It might make sense to know that each county is divided into townships (most are 36 square miles). Each township is run by a town board. Within a township, if an area achieves a given population density, it may incorporate into a separate city or village.  That city or village then has the right to annex surrounding town land as it grows or if it needs/wants resources in the surrounding town. In urban areas, cities long ago ate up all of the town land. In rural areas, there is substantially more town land. In Wisconsin, the county sets zoning restrictions for ALL municipalities within the county. It is the state of Wisconsin that requires ALL municipalities to have long-range growth plans.

      Therefore, the Village of Palmyra is surrounded by Town of Palmyra land. It stated in its long-range plan that it basically doesn't need more land to handle a growing population; the annexed land lies outside of that "growth ring." And it did not cite an urgent need - or any need - for the annexation, e.g. needing more water for its current residents and businesses.

      Hope that clears things up a bit!

      •  Thanks for the clarifying info... +4 n/t (0+ / 0-)

        I screwed up with a careless uprate so I'm a "No Rate" pariah. When I give a comment "+4 n/t", please consider that a recommend. (That's my workaround to participate here). DK haiku, one complete thought in a title field. Roar louder! NR since 3/7/12.

        by Josiah Bartlett on Thu May 23, 2013 at 12:20:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I stopped taking thier products (6+ / 0-)

    when I found out they contributed to Scott Walker and I had taken one of their supplements for almost 10 years. I figure any company that would support him does not have my best interest at heart. This example of abuse of power confirms my actions were appropriate. How good could their product be if they only have their own interests at heart.

  •  I'd like to see a list, or link to a list (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of the products Standard Process produces.

    It's a name that isn't prominent on the labels I see.

    •  No, you wouldn't see that name on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PeterHug, Creosote

      any label if it's not a Standard Process supplement.  Here's their website:

      This is such a disappointing diary! But I do appreciate the info, Windtalker. I've used their products for me and for my animals for at least 15 years.

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

      by scarlet slipper on Fri May 24, 2013 at 11:07:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What a clean, tidy web page (0+ / 0-)

        no hint of the takeover of that little town. "Whole foods" - "Research" - and most everything else available only if you sign up.

        But thanks, scarlett slipper, for the link. As an old Adelle Davis reader I know I've benefited greatly from her thought and that of many others today.

  •  truth or dare to do research (0+ / 0-)

    People should get their facts straight.
    Standard Process is anything but a “run-of-the-mill company”.  They pour millions of dollars into the community.  They own over 50% of the land being annexed in.  If they want all of their land annexed into the Village, who cares.
    Two of the farms are NOT part of the AEA.  One of the farms had their property listed on the ALP (Airport Layout Plan) to sell their land to the Town of Palmyra Airport for $406,000.  Another “farm” is not even farmed anymore and the owner lives in a different county.
    Why can’t these people stay on their land? No one is taking their land.  Instead of being in the Town they are now in the Village.  Hmmm, fire and police protection 24/7.  Who wouldn’t want that?
    All of the farmland Standard Process owns is certified organic.  How many of the local farmers can say the same?  Why is this a crime that Standard Process wants all of their land in one municipality?  Could it have anything to do with the fact that the Town has consistently tried to block any growth of Standard Process?
    I would rather have a company that can stand on its own rather than rely on crop support (welfare).  Standard Process puts a lot of money into the local economy.  Why are they the bully?  Because they are enjoying the fruits of a very successful business?  They want to grow, create more jobs and add more money to the local economy.  I don’t understand how that is bullying or wrong.
    Whoever posted this in the first place has a lot of misinformation.  Instead of believing false claims and rumors, do your own research and get the whole story.

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