Proposed CAFO Permit Requirement Raises Stink in Bon Homme County

The Bon Homme County Commission stalled an effort Tuesday to tighten regulation of confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). With the pressure on from neighbors and farmers who want some additional protection from the environmental hazards of CAFOs and the Mickelsonian operators who want no more government interference in their sacred right to raise a stink, the commission punted:

The small commission room was packed with nearly two dozen visitors. Another estimated 50 people stood in the hallway listening to discussion and waiting for results.

In the end, the commissioners tabled action on a proposal to require operations of at least 500 animal units to seek a conditional-use permit. Currently, the county zoning ordinance places the threshold at 1,000 animal units to match state law.

…The County Commission sent the issue back to the Planning and Zoning Board, which had proposed the stricter limit of 500 animal units. In addition, the zoning board will solicit input from both livestock producers and those concerned about such operations [Randy Dockendorf, “CAFO Action Tabled,” Yankton Press & Dakotan, 2016.05.03].

CAFO proponents fret that reducing the animal units requiring a permit from 1,000 to 500 would “cripple” farming in Bon Homme County:

Rothschadl said the proposed Bon Homme County zoning restrictions would cripple farming and, in turn, the surrounding communities. “This is the lifeblood of the economy,” he said.

In addition, the 28-year-old Rothschadl said tighter rules would put into jeopardy the farming prospects for future generations. “What does this mean for my kids and others if they want to come back (and farm)?” he asked [Dockendorf, 2016.05.03].

What it means, Mr. Rothschadl, is that you’d just have to go to the courthouse, apply for a permit, and demonstrate that you can keep your CAFO from polluting the surrounding land, water, and air. Is that really so much to ask?

7 Responses to Proposed CAFO Permit Requirement Raises Stink in Bon Homme County

  1. There is some confusion with this article, and I just wanted to clarify it.

    They talk about CAFO’s or units more than 5K head, and then they talk about changing the current zoning laws of 1K units.

    Right now in Bon Homme county they have the 999 cattle (or equivalent) per unit law. Anything higher has to be approved by the state, which cost quite a bit more. They also talked about requiring health systems on CAFO’s or large units, and also putting those restrictions on all units.

    So essentially its 2 different issues, cutting the limit for a state permit in half, and requiring additional systems for pollution control on different facilities.

    (equivalent is like 2.4 hogs per cow, and 3.1 chickens and so on)

    Ironically most of the larger operations in Bon Homme county pollute much less than the smaller ones, because of Federal grants that theyused to build the operations. Having lived in Bon Homme County for most of my life, I could take you to 15 small producers who have their “small” feedlot right next to the creek, and then take you to the large ones and you’d realize how much less pollution occurs in those units.

    The problem here though isn’t pollution or stink, or anything, its just people not liking certain neighbors. And throwing a fit about it.

  2. Small or large; it has an impact on the environment and on the livestock themselves. This issue will affect the integrity of the land itself with the application of liquid manure and antibiotic residue. More research and study has to be done on the effects of the environment and its long-lasting consequences. I am not against progress. I understand that farmers want/need volume to make profit; but to what exchange are we willing to give up. The proponants talk about their children and grandchildren etc. Are they considering the quality of the land? The water? The air? For the next generations. Or, are they just looking at their bottom line? I’m not for MORE regulation; but there HAS to be put into place protections for the rest of us that don’t farm and also for the livestock themselves. Most farmers are living in the NOW and not looking ahead for the impact it could make for the future generations. More study and research has to be done before the flood gates are opened up; is all I’m saying. Once that liquid manure and antibiotic residue is in the land, its in there to stay. It isn’t water soluble like the “old manure with compost” was back in the day. It’s WAY different and kills the micro-organisms in the soil; including animals such as earthworms. So proceed with caution, is my attitude.

  3. That 999 rule was salesmanship to the legislature by a good salesman. Just like a car guy puts that 999 price at the end of his numbers, it really means 1,000. That can go higher than that as well given the give and take of sales and deliveries to the lot. It is more than the stink, or is it? That stink is as toxic as skunk spray to humans. If someone would like to hang with a skunks day in and day out and say that the smell is just about right, then they should move next to a feed yard.

    Having any feed lot close to a active creek or river does not make sense. These small and large lot pollute our air and out water. Enough of the waste of corn, the waste of water and waste itself.

  4. 1000 units really means 2500 animals. A unit; for each animal differs with cattle; hogs; chickens; turkeys; etc. It is misleading, at best. so right on, Jerry; I missed that point. 999 rule is a sell that does not tell the whole story. Like with anything people want to “sell” to other people to get them on their side they tell parts of the story but leave out some of the truths.

  5. Frank Kloucek

    There are plans to build many cafo buildings with the pigs provided by Sunterra Farms of Acme Aleberta Canada in our area. Sunterra Farms has refused to participate in our open public meeting last Wednesday evening in Tyndall to bring to light their plans, building structures, public safety issues ect.

    They are building these swine finishing barns underneath the state and county cafo requirements of 1000 animal units which equals 2500 250 lb pigs.
    Do you think they are purposely building them under the limit to avoid following any state or county zoning and permiting process laws and rules. Many residents in Bon Homme County do and I agree with them. Each 2400 head facility puts out enough liquid manure, fertilizer, dangerous toxic waste ect{ you choose the term they all apply] as the town of Vermillion does each year. The odor and the particulates that are carried in the air can go up to three miles before dispersing in some situations. And we should not be concerned? Baloney. Respectfully submited Frank Kloucek

  6. mike from iowa

    For the record-the new Director of Wisconsin’s Natural Resources was asked about her priorities and she basically said fish and game don’t vote. Gives a pretty good idea that the environment and protecting it is not a priority.