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Lawsuit Concerning Richfield Dairy Could Threaten Economic Developement In Coloma Area

July 26, 2011

One can only hope the economic developement that is so needed in the Coloma area will not be stymied by this lawsuit, which on the surface seems frivolous and designed only to hamstring the process of creating more jobs in the area, and increasing the tax base.  One can only hope this legal challenge will be dealt with in a quick fashion and tossed aside.  It should be noted that Richfield Dairy has abided by all the state statutes and regulations, and has met the letter of the requirements of the State of Wisconsin.  Just because one does not like the outcome…..  CP hopes this legal challenge is quickly removed.

Factory farm opponent Family Farm Defenders along with Bob Clarke, a property owner near the proposed Richfield Dairy, have filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in an effort to slow down the process that would allow construction of a new 4,300-cow dairy near Coloma.

Clarke and Family Farm Defenders, in their lawsuit filed Friday in Dane County, are asking for judicial review of an administrative decision by the DNR that approved plans and specifications for Richfield Dairy, a concentrated animal feeding operation in Adams County owned by MilkSource.

Richfield Dairy applied for plans and specifications approval on Feb. 23, and received statutory approval from the DNR on June 24.

The court action requests a contested case hearing before an administrative law judge to assess the adequacy of the Richfield Dairy’s plans and specifications. It also asked for a judicial review of the DNR’s decision to approve the plans and specifications.

Richfield Dairy has not yet received its WPDES permit, but MilkSource company officials don’t expect any problems.

“We are confident by following the rules and regulations of the state of Wisconsin our statutory approval will be upheld in court,” said Bill Harke, director of public affairs for MilkSource.”

3 Comments
  1. P. Vandecasteele permalink
    August 10, 2011 3:23 PM

    I live 3 miles south of proposed site.
    I have been living here for over thirteen years and I am writing this to voice my GREAT opposition to this proposed dairy farm in Adams County.I am an avid hunter, fisherman and outdoor enthusiast. I am also employed as a tool and die maker in the area.I live here, year round and choose to have a family here.
    I originally bought this home for its rural location and proximity to other family members. I had a water test done before purchasing and the results were 5.1 MG/L for Nitrates. There were no cattle in the area. Several years later Opitz Custom Heifer put in approximately 1500 head of cattle. In 2006 I had the water tested again and the results were 48 MG/L for Nitrates which is unsafe by state standards. I have both documents to substantiate my claim. If approximately 1500 head could do this, what would 4000 head do???????
    I am not only concerned about drinking water, what about our lakes and streams?
    Water is not the only issue. I am concerned about property values, insects, traffic, damage to infrastructure, smell, land misuse, and so on.
    I do not think that Adams County needs this type of development. In fact, I think it will down grade the community and area as a whole. A short term gain is not the long term investment that this area needs or WANTS.
    For the people that have made this area home, do not allow Milk Source to destroy our dreams and future.

  2. July 26, 2011 2:51 PM

    While I am opposed to the idea of this farm, I am also mindful that if the process is followed, as has been the case with Richfield Dairy, then they should be allowed to operate.

    I am very process driven…and over and over that point is made on this blog. Having worked in government I know there is a time to fight, and also a time to understand when there is nothing to fight over.

    If people want to contact their elected officials and work to tighten the rules and regs so this does not happen in the future…they would get my support. But there is no way…or right…to deny Richfield Dairy who have followed the exisitng rules from now operating.

    I am also mindful of the positive economic gain that this idea…though one I do not like…will have on the Coloma area.

  3. Ron Groskreutz permalink
    July 26, 2011 2:05 PM

    I thought you were against this large dairy farm?
    Large confinement operations, whether it be hogs, cattle, or chickens, allow you to catch all of the manure, and knife it in under ground in order to make sure that the nutrients don’t run off. Even if the state did not mandate with rules and regulations, and even if the farmer was not a good steward of the land or was not environmentally conscious, he would still do it the right way in order to incorperate his nutrients into the ground. Failure to capture these goodies in this manure would force him to buy more inputs for crops later.
    If you were to take the 4000 mostly confined dairy operation and turn it into 100 different 40 smaller dairy operations, those 40 smaller operations would have them running around outside, leaving all of their fecal matter on top of the ground, just waiting for the first rain to come along and wash it down to the nearest creek for someone else to use.

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