Four Dairy CAFOs on Hold; Grant County CAFO Leaks Manure in Heavy Rain

Speaking of CAFOs, Watertown appears to be caught in the crosshairs of Governor Daugaard’s push for more dairy production. Brookings County factory dairy magnate Michael Crinion wants to build another CAFO, the Waverly Dairy, six miles north of Watertown. However, after receiving unanimous approval from the Codington County zoning board, the Waverly Dairy is now on hold, thanks to a lawsuit from local opponents. KXLG reports that makes four proposed dairies in the I-29 dairy corridor now on hold due to litigation.

KXLG notes that heavy rains caused manure to run off from Grant County’s Lakeside Dairy on July 5. (“Lakeside”—did you think about that name, planners?) Such spills properly alarm Watertown mayor Steve Thorson, who says he recognizes that big dairies are necessary but that we just can’t put them that close to the Big Sioux River and Watertown’s water supply. Mayor Thorson also says communities like his in the I-29 dairy corridor are under pressure to allow more CAFOs due to Governor Dennis Daugaard’s state-subsidized cheese factory in Brookings:

When the Governor said that we can have the big cheese factory in Brookings… we need more cattle in this area and I think he’s just made it clear that we’re going to do it [Mayor Steve Thorson, audio interview, “Codington County and Zoning Official Served with Lawsuit over Dairy Permit,” KXLG Radio, 2015.07.16].

Behold the power of cheese. If Governor Daugaard wants us to make more cheese, then Watertown and other communities downstream from factory dairies will have to put up with the occasional fecal flood. Mmm… tasty.

14 Responses to Four Dairy CAFOs on Hold; Grant County CAFO Leaks Manure in Heavy Rain

  1. Paul Seamans

    One of the things that CAFO’s look for when making a decision about locating is all weather roads necessary to get their product out. I feel fortunate that in Jones County, SD we oftentimes don’t even have gravel roads.

  2. Nick Nemec

    Six miles north of Watertown? Is the exact location on or off the reservation? Does it matter?

  3. I think what is really interesting about the the KXLG article is the statement that the Codington county zoning officer is listed in suit. The Codington county zoning officer is Luke Muller who also happens to be staff at 1st District Association of Local Governments (the Community Planning and Economic Development Partner in Northeast South Dakota). 1st District is the outfit that developed and are now authoring the Agricultural (CAFO) Site Analysis plans for many of the counties across SD. 1st District offices in Watertown (Codington county), this will be a case to watch for sure!

  4. Deb Geelsdottir

    Cory said: “put up with the occasional fecal flood. Mmm… tasty.”

    Well that’s just disgusting. In some big cities, landlords who violate ordinances and let their tenants live in substandard conditions are sentenced, in part, to living in the affected building for a specified period of time.

    I think SD ought to require as a condition of approval, that the owner and permit grantees on all levels, be required to live within 1 mile downwind of the CAFO and drink, bathe, and cook with water from the nearest source that other humans use. They must fulfill this requirement for the full month of either July or August, and one other full calendar month – every year.

    I think that sounds very fair. Of course the CAFO owners would be responsible for building the house and paying all costs for the lucky county and state officials who vote to allow the CAFO. Maybe those public officials who publicly support the CAFO ought to live there too. What do you think?

  5. Porter Lansing

    Hear, hear Mayor Thorson. Just one afternoon spent with our President and a lot of good has rubbed off onto your determination not to let big Ag and a Republican government ruin what makes Watertown special ….. WATER! Is there a Codington County state representative anywhere, these days? He’s in a vulnerable position come re-election time. PS … big dairy farms aren’t really needed. Lots of farm families milking again is what’s needed.

  6. Agreed Porter Lansing, I see no need for these polluting dairies. Why not just go pasteurized so we can shelve the milk like they do in civilized parts of the world. If you can put it in your pantry, it would save a whole lot of electricity that would be good for our Mother.

  7. mike from iowa

    Fecal coliform bacteria from animals and humans looks and smells good on swimming beaches and adds color to lakes and ponds. Mass confinements=mass production=mass pollution.

  8. Cory, I think you’ve written about the County Site Analysis Program before. In the last issue of Dakotafire, we put together one grand map of the county maps created from the reports that have been done so far. You can also find links to all the reports, which I don’t think are found elsewhere in one place. (We submitted a FOIA request to get them, though the ag dept was very willing to provide all of them, responding very quickly to our request.)

  9. Porter Lansing

    Agreed, Jerry. BUT … wait a second. A “state subsidized cheese factory?” And we’re dissecting a social studies mission statement looking for traces of socialism? C’mon, Conservatives.

  10. larry kurtz

    South Dakota a sacrifice zone? What a freaking surprise.

  11. Deb Geelsdottir

    Heidi, thanks for the link. It’s very helpful. It looks like there is a benefit to living in a drier part of the state.

  12. Paul Seamans

    Heidi, I agree with Deb. Great link and great maps. I am sure that the SD Dept of Ag willingly supplied the maps as this County Site Analysis is considered by Daugaard to be one of his big accomplishments.

  13. Great write up by the South Dakota Free Press and comments by some very concerned citizens here in our Great State of South Dakota. We are a association called Citizens Against Waverly Dairy which includes everyone from local urban citizens, residences in the area and farmers of all sizes that also have “family” dairy farms who are against this corporate animal factory – It is not a farm operation. We are in a tough fight against having this in our backyard in the communities of Waverly and Watertown SD. Please support us by visiting our facebook page Citizens Against Waverly Dairy
    Donations to help offset legal fee’s are greatly appreciated and needed with contact info in our facebook page.
    Also take note we are having a public informational meeting on these CAFO’s in Watertown at the Event Center on Wednesday August 19th at 7PM and encourage anyone with our same concerns to attend and help support our cause which is one of many in our region and we are not alone.