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.