DNR could enable one in all Wisconsin’s largest dairy farms to get larger | WUWM 89.7 FM

The Kinnard household began farming 80 acres in Kewaunee County in 1948, milking 14 cows. Through the years, the operation has grown dramatically, and so has the quantity of manure the farm spreads on the panorama.

As we speak the Kinnard farm is one in all Wisconsin’s largest CAFOS, or concentrated animal feeding operations. Kinnard is dwelling to about 8,000 cows. They produce an estimated 103 million gallons of manure every year that is unfold out on 16,000 acres of land.

The farm might change into even bigger, almost doubling the herd, pending allow adjustments the Division of Pure Sources is contemplating.

The allow evaluation is a part of an advanced case unfolding in a county that has lengthy had ingesting water points.

>> Kewaunee County Residents Fed Up Living With Contaminated Wells

Jodi Parins is worried. She lives just a few miles from the farm and says fellow City of Lincoln residents have been grappling with contaminated non-public wells for years.

“In 2013, our groundwater was already in disaster mode at a 33% contamination fee,” Parins mentioned. She testified at a current DNR listening to about proposed adjustments to the Kinnard Farm allow.

Modifications would come with permitting extra cows — as much as twice as many. The farm could be required to observe groundwater beneath a few of the fields the place it spreads manure, however the farm wouldn’t need to spell out its monitoring plan till after the allow approval.

Manure spreading is frequent, however areas like Kewaunee County are particularly inclined to groundwater contamination. The soils might be very shallow, and the bedrock beneath is fractured.

Pathogens from manure unfold on fields with that geology, known as karst, can rapidly journey into and contaminate nicely water.

Parins accused the DNR of abdicating accountability by contemplating the allow modifications.“The courtroom has given you the go-ahead. Why wouldn’t you employ the choice to truly defend our water as an alternative of constant to guard the polluters,” she mentioned.

Parins referred to a state Supreme Court docket ruling handed down in July 2021. It got here after years of issues raised by Kewaunee County residents concerning the Kinnard farm’s impacts on groundwater.

The courtroom mentioned the DNR has the authority to cap the farm’s herd and put circumstances on its pollutant discharges, manure and wastewater.

A November 2021 memo from the company states, “Groundwater monitoring on the Kinnard manufacturing website exhibits persistent exceedances of groundwater high quality requirements for nitrate and micro organism.”

Tyler Dix is the DNR’s allow coordinator for CAFOS. Dix mentioned the farm would solely be allowed to increase “if they’ll reveal compliance with liquid storage capability and nutrient administration necessities.”

Dix added, “To be completely clear, we’ve got not obtained any type of software to truly add animal items right now.”

To be clear, Kinnard’s will not be the one CAFO within the City of Lincoln as there are a number of together with greater than a dozen smaller farms.

In 2021, the township accomplished a 73-page groundwater and surface water protection report. It states, “75% of Lincoln Township lands are inappropriate for the spreading of liquid manure, agriculture wastewater, municipal waste and whey within the method through which they’ve been utilized up to now.”

Jesse Jerabek mentioned his concern for his group stretches past his personal contaminated nicely. Jerabek is Lincoln’s city chairman.

“I believe allowing or permitting an growth … with out first requiring a complete monitoring plan and confirming the potential affect to our ingesting water is just negligent on the a part of the DNR. I’d be negligent if I didn’t personally go on document in opposition to these modifications as presently written,” he mentioned.

Individuals exterior Kewaunee County spoke on the listening to, together with Edie Ehlert. “I dwell in southwest Wisconsin. We’ve the karst geology points and we’ve got a allow right here that you simply’re wanting now for a big hog CAFO right here. We’re taking a look at this allow as being horrifying,” Ehlert mentioned.

“We’ve a CAFO proposed on the Polk / Burnett County border,”Polk County supervisor Amy Middleton mentioned. “Polk County is dwelling to 437 lakes and the St. Croix River, which is the nation’s first wild and scenic river.”

Middleton known as the proposed Kinnard allow adjustments precedent setting. “We have to get the water testing right. We want a sturdy baseline and ongoing groundwater testing program to be included on this allow. The remainder of the state is watching, and I needed to relay to you that residents are asking for this water safety in any respect ranges of presidency and in any respect corners of Wisconsin,” Middleton mentioned.

WUWM reached out to Kinnard Farm however didn’t obtain a remark or interview for this story. However the farm touts its stewardship of the land on the corporate’s web site. There’s an announcement that claims though the farm has grown and altered through the years, “the household’s ardour for the animals and dedication to caring for the setting has not.”

In a video, Lee Kinnard states, “Our purpose, as a household, has been to at all times go away the land in a situation higher than it was through which we discovered it.”

The deadline for public touch upon the Kinnard allow was Tuesday. Now the problem is within the arms of the DNR.

The proposed efficient date of the modified allow is Feb. 1, however DNR CAFO allow coordinator Tyler Dix mentioned given the magnitude of feedback the DNR has obtained, the date could also be pushed again.

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