Aug 2, 2014

Wisconsin Citizen Don Ystad: Factory Farms-CAFOs Threaten Tourism, Recreation and Groundwater

Wisconsin tourism, vacation home
destinations under assault
Socially Responsible Agricultural Now Make Demands

Politicians do disservice to Wisconsin allowing petty politics to interfere with what is best for our state

Update II: News this weekend: Ohio's Fourth Largest City Issues 'Don't Drink the Water' mandate, citing phosphorous from farm fertilizer runoff and sewage treatment plants. Phosphorous run-off in Wisconsin remains an issue, with citizens demanding the Department of Natural Resources protect the water.

This dreadful situation is as predictable as snow in Wisconsin.

"The ecological carrying capacity on at least two of Wisconsin’s agricultural landscapes has been exceeded:  that includes much of Northeastern Wisconsin as well as the Central Sands. These landscapes are literally bleeding excess nitrogen and phosphorus into groundwater and surface water," said Gordon Stevenson, a 26-year veteran of the DNR where his last assignment was serving as the Chief of Runoff Management until his retirement in 2011.

Update: See also Republican Party's unprecedented attack on local control and Home Rule in Wisconsin. Wisconsin's Home Rule Constitutional provision is found here.

By Don Ystad
Nekoosa, Wisconsin

Governor Walker, agency heads, politicians, and concerned citizens,

I feel like a nay sayer, sharing these articles about the threat to our recreational area.  I'm normally an upbeat guy, but when I see a scenario so similar to ours where [concentrated agricultural feeding operations] CAFOs have come in and ruined a vibrant community like Rome and Saratoga, I cringe.  Susan Turner is a member of HOMES [Helping Others Maintain Environmental Standards] and was involved in the successful fight in Galena, Illinois, where they turned back the Bos dairy CAFO.  Here [below], (Ms. Turner) shares her communication with a resident of Yakima Valley, Washington, where CAFOs caught them unawares and devastated their recreational area.

We have the benefit of witnessing the unfortunate experience of areas like Yakima Valley, Washington, and Kewaunee, Wisconsin, where CAFOs have moved in and destroyed existing recreational/tourist areas.

That's given us the ability to override the false claims of the dairy CAFO proponents with actual hard evidence that shows how destructive these industrial farms can be to existing recreational, residential areas.

For our local, county and Madison representatives, it is not anti-agriculture to recognize the value of the existing recreation and tourism here in Rome and Saratoga [in Wood County] and say, 'this is not the right place to site a CAFO.'  Even my farming relatives see the sense in that. 

Looking at it strictly from what's good for our state,  the revenue and growth from recreation and tourism in the Rome and Saratoga, Wisconsin area far outweigh any gains from the proposed CAFO. 

Take a step back from the politics of this situation and ask yourself, 'what is best for the state of Wisconsin?  Another CAFO sited, or the preservation and growth of an existing, vibrant area, poised to be the golf mecca of the Midwest?' 

Think existing class A trout streams,  existing lakes surrounded by 5,400 properties, two existing golf courses at Lake Arrowhead, the new Wisconsin Trapshooters Home facility, Dyracuse recreational area, TriNorse ski jump, and the new Sand Valley Golf Club just begun, all within a few miles of the proposed CAFO.  Weigh that against the proposed CAFO with it's 49 high-cap wells and manure enough to fill Lambeau field up to the cheap seats four times over.

You do a disservice to the citizens of Wisconsin to allow petty politics to interfere with what is best for our state.  Judging from the frequent news articles appearing statewide, citizens are growing tired of the abuse to our groundwater and the one-sided playing field regarding our environment.  Incidentally, this e-mail will reach nearly 1,000 blind copied citizens.
[edited slightly for clarity]
From: Susan Turner
Date: Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 8:20 PM
Subject: Re: Ruined Tourism in Yakima Valley/ RFK Jr.

There were so many good people who came to warn us with our battle.  It gave us the ability to paint pictures with words regarding pollution.  There were so many people who did not believe the pollution would be real- these people would write or call me and tell me to stop scaring people and that this is not true.

I kept writing the newspapers- even when the hate mail poured in.

The Journal-Standard

Posted Mar 03, 2010 @ 05:36 PM

Helen Reddout from Yakima Valley, Wash., presented at the HOMES public meeting held at the Galena Convention Center. She will be featured as one of the characters in the upcoming book, “Animal Factory” by David Kirby.

She complimented how beautiful Galena is. She said her beautiful Yakima Valley was known for its tourism until the industrial dairies moved in. She said it only takes one big mega dairy. Now there are 75.

She watched with a heavy heart as dairies under 100 cows went out of business. Headlights are used during the day because the heavy dust impairs visibility. The stench is so bad, you are trapped. Pollution flags are used so parents, students and schools can take precautions. No more outdoor swimming, barbecues, fishing. This goes on for 19 miles.

She spoke of promised economic development and state of the art facilities while showing photos of manure stacked three stories high, manure ponds full, and fields burnt out from over saturation complete with fly swarms.

“I really love your county. It reminds me of what my valley was like 30 years ago. I miss that so much.”

She then urged HOMES to fight even harder because we have an “elephant trying to get through the door. Once the first one gets through, there is no stopping the stampede.” Helen didn’t fight until it was too late. This is our chance to keep the door shut for the love of Jo Daviess County.
Susan Turner- Warren, Illinois

To the Editor: Mega-dairy opponents gain support

On March 26, 2010 at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. gave an inspiring speech to more than 1,700 people. Members of Helping Others Maintain Environmental Standards wore shirts to let others know that we are in a battle for clean air and water.

One woman reading our HOMES brochure gave us advice on locations to place this information. “This is such an urgent situation for so many.”

One man said he works at a dairy owned by one of A. J. Bos’s friends. “Why were we fighting him?” We explained that the proposed operation was improperly sited, that the origin of the Apple River was to have manure storage built on top, regulations by multiple departments are not being upheld, and that five state experts are being ignored about the karst geology and design standards. He was relieved. He was afraid we were anti-animal-agriculture. The HOMES people in line were farmers, livestock owners, farm hands and consumers who buy direct from their farmer.

Another woman (from Wisconsin) shared the nightmare of being trapped in her home because of air and water pollution from a 2,300-head hog CAFO [(Concentrated) Animal Feeding Operation]. Manure is sprayed in the air and over applied to the field and gets in the river that runs by her property. Limited to the use of her property, she hides inside from the stench. She was in line to plead for the help of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. This is why HOMES is in appeals.

Susan Turner
Warren, Illinois

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