May 20, 2014

Central Wisconsin Communities Say: No Huge Factory Farms, No More Deep Water Wells

Updated - "The Wysocki Family of Companies wants to put the Golden Sands CAFO in Saratoga that will be home to over 6,000 animal units. These cows will produce 50 million gallons of liquid waste per year," says Richard Rearjet (Wisconsin Rapids-Tribune, May 6, 2014).

Saratoga, Wisconsin—Saratoga, Nekoosa, and Port Edwards are small municipalities in Wood County in central Wisconsin.

A trip through the area reveals growing sentiment against a rapacious, toxic presence in these small communities and neighboring counties.

Folks in Wood County, [and in Juneau, Portage and Adams counties] see a proposed huge factory farm as a threat to their way of life, and the life blood and health of their children.

Signs in the area (above and below-right) display the consensus that factory farms are no damn good.

What has homeowners, small businesses, environmentalists and families so spooked is the proposed Golden Sands Dairy concentrated agricultural feeding operation (CAFO) by the Wysocki Family of Companies [See map at bottom].

No way, say residents objecting to what Wysocki would do to the groundwater and area watersheds, including small streams where long-time residents used to fish such as in the Five-mile and Ten-mile creeks near Wisconsin Rapids.

Golden Sands Dairy has an application for 49 high-capacity wells in Saratoga that if approved would not only suck up the groundwater aquifer that people here use for their everyday lives, but the toxic threat to the water supply and air has people genuinely frightened.

One would think the John Hopkins University Shows Increase In Antibacterial Resistant Bacteria Infections Near Factory Farms study would be enough to stop this corporate proposal dead in its tracks.

But this is a fight featuring a growing threat—the Wysocki-DNR-Scott Walker special interests—that does not seek approval of the people before deciding what to do with their water and their communities.

Wysocki farms in the area already plunder much of the area's aquifers, and this conglomerate has never asked for a show of hands. This explains of course why Wysocki is suing the Town of Saratoga.

The geology of the central sands of Wisconsin makes this among the worse places for Wysocki's plans.

Notes the citizens website, Protect Wood County, citing a report on the Wisconsin Soil Survey by the U.S. Dept of Agricultural-Natural Resources Conservation Service: "Saratoga's sandy soil is not very suitable for the proposed land use. The report shows that Saratoga's soil is susceptible to blowing hazards, high seepage of sewage lagoons, and high susceptibility to concrete corrosion, among other concerns."

People are organized, but petitioning the DNR and the governor's office has up to this point not yielded results.

See also what this area's neighbors to the northeast are experiencing with factory farms.

Local officials are listening.

Candidates for Wisconsin governor should likewise listen to the people of Wood, Juneau, Portage and Adams counties and act in their interests.

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