Will You Fight For Your Quality of Life?

"Let me tell you something I learned years ago. All politics is local."

Thomas O'Neill, Sr.

"....Supporters of industrial agriculture are no fans of local government these days. That’s because townships and counties across rural America are forcing giant livestock factories to be accountable for their actions. The strength of local government is that the local town board member must live, work, worship and socialize daily with the same people who are his or her political constituents..."

Read more of Hometown Factory Farm Fighting at the Land Conservancy Project.


Understanding the Conflicts: CAFOs Vs. The Community

The information below comes from a pamphlet published by the Purdue University Extension. It discusses some of the conflicts and controversy people should expect when a private decision is make to put a factory farm in their neighborhood.

"The expansion of CAFOs in Indiana has created high levels of conflict in communities, largely because people disagree over the permitting of operations, location of the facilities, and their impacts on the community. The stakes are high, and conflicts are emotionally charged. CAFO owners, other farmers, neighbors, and elected officials are pitted against one another, oftentimes damaging relationships for years. Are there better ways of dealing with such complex and controversial issues? This series on community conflict is intended to help people involved with CAFO issues deal with their differences in more effective and constructive ways. This publication is intended to provide a better understanding of CAFOs as a source of community conflict..."

Read more of CAFOs and Community Conflict: Understanding Community Conflict.


Factory Farming's False Promise

The Land Stewardship Project has an excellent website with useful information concerning factory farms. Here is a link to the website and a list of fact sheets dealing with factory farms: Land Stewardship Project fact sheets.
"Industrialized ag extracts the wealth of rural communities, leaving behind empty farmsteads and shuttered main streets."



No Opposition To Erin Prairie Factory Farm?

Let's see...we have had over 300 people sign the petition against allowing Schottler Dairy, Inc. to build a 3800-cow factory farm in Erin Prairie. You want this madness stopped! We've got many e-mails demanding that this doesn't happen. Then the Schottlers show up at the Erin Prairie Town Board meeting and there is no one at the meeting a question them on this madness.

I guess it's easier to find excuses not to attend the board meetings and hope this website will stop the Schottlers. With opposition to a factory farm like this, in two years Schottler Dairy Inc. will telling the town board they want to double their new farm to 6800 cows.

Will you be twice as mad then? According to my math, two times zero is nothing...

From the June 9, 2010 Monthly Board Meeting Minutes...


"...Shannon Schottler and Nick Schottler were present to answer questions if anyone had attended to discuss the Schottler Dairy Farm. No one was present with questions or concerns about the dairy. Shannon noted that the farm does have a web site now for questions or comments..."

Please note, if you have questions and concerns about the factory farm proposed by Schottler Dairy, Inc., you should be attending the Erin Prairie Town Board meetings. The reason this farm is even being considered is because people were not paying attention to the zoning issues in the county four and five years ago. Don't count on others to fight for what you believe in. You will be sorely disappointed with the results.

The July board meeting will be held Wednesday, July 14 at 8:00 PM.

Below is a copy of the agenda for the June 9 board meeting. Please note that the Schottlers were not listed on the agenda. They attended the meeting as citizens, spoke up and were willing to answer questions concerning their plans. Perhaps residents in Erin Prairie need to go to the board meeting and ask the board to put the Schottlers on the agenda and have them explain what is going on.

Here's a link to the Erin Prairie board minutes and agenda. Maybe it's time for the opposition to wake up and smell the bacon...before the only thing you can smell is the tons of cow manure and urine stewing in the giant lagoons along 160th Street.


Tales From The ABS Man...

"I can't say the cows ever appeared overly distressed by what certainly had to be a disruption in their day. They would pause in chewing their cud, kinda freezing in a "hunh?" sorta pose, and their eyes would bulge a tad, about like yours would at the point of realizing your taxes were due yesterday. Occasionally one would engage in a little do-si-do (who wouldn't), but all things considered, their reaction to having a stranger's arm up the rectum was positively restrained."

Michael Perry
Coop: A year of poultry, pigs and parenting (2009)


The Future Of Thirst

"Ranchers need clean water for their stock, farmers need it for their crops, every employer needs it to stay in business, and every living thing needs it for life... The law needs to be clear to protect water quality and the rights of landowners."

Mark Udall


Taxpayer Funded Dairy Expansions?

It's interesting to note that the local communities and people living near large factory farms like that being considered by Schottler Dairy, Inc. have little to say in the decision process. Yet our tax dollars go into paying for government milk subsidies to these dairies. Remember, the bigger the dairy operation, the bigger the milk check.

The story below gives a brief discussion of the Dairy 2020 Initiative that takes tax dollars to give to dairy farmers so they can expand their operations to produce more milk and get bigger subsidy checks. This enables us to pay more in taxes. Meanwhile, these expanding dairies lower the property values of the people living in the surrounding area.

You don't have to live next to one of these factory farms to realize there is a terrible odor...

According to records provided in March by the Department of Commerce, of the nearly $1 billion Wisconsin dairy farmers spent to expand or update their facilities between 2003 and 2007, $22.4 million came from the state Dairy 2020 Initiative.

Dairy 2020 is designed to give dairy owners a financial incentive to modernize or expand their operations. Since 2002, 187 dairy farms received $20.3 million in low-interest loans to increase milk production through the Milk Volume Production program.

Read more at the Appleton Post-Crescent.


Who Speaks for the Cows?

"If you don't speak out now when it matters, when would it matter for you to speak out?"

Jim Hightower


Emerald Dairy Experiments With Manure Treatment

The story below provides a overview of the water-capture treatment process being tested at Emerald Dairy, Inc. on County Road G in St. Croix County.

Here's a link to Emerald Dairy. They give tours, if you are interested in learning more.

"Emerald Dairy has been one of three pilot sites for an on-farm wastewater treatment plant that separates solids to an unprecedented level. Manure from the site's 1,600 cows feeds the system at 35 gallons per minute. At the end of the line, all suspended solids have been removed and 35 to 40 percent by weight has been filtered down into clear water, cleaner than treated municipal wastewater. Just as important, each of the other streams from his four-stage water treatment system can be allocated for a specific use, allowing him to target it to fields based on nutrient needs, hauling distance or irrigation system..."

"Nearly half the weight of dairy manure is water. It's bulky, it's heavy and it's inconvenient to handle. Rising fuel costs make hauling that water component prohibitively expensive, and environmental protection measures push the cost of lagoons toward the half-million-dollar mark or higher.

And for dairy producers like John Vrieze of Baldwin, Wis., the problem grows with every rain. “Colleagues of mine in drier areas of the country can use the dry air to largely evaporate some of these problems,” he notes. “But when you live in a humid climate, the amount of water in your manure actually increases over time.” With 31.5 inches of annual precip, Vrieze says, accumulation easily exceeds evaporation – to the tune of 3 million extra gallons of extra water in his lagoon each year..."

Read more of Wastewater Treatment Plants Dewater Dairy Manure at Conservation Technology Information Center.


Speak Up Now!!!

Making democracy work for you requires that you participate in the democratic process. If you think by signing a petition and reading information on the Internet is going to stop a factory farm from being built in Erin Prairie Township, you are most likely going to be disappointed. You need to contact your county and town board representatives.

Here's the town board contact information for the following townships:
Erin Prairie

Here is a link to the St. Croix County Board members.

Take the time to check out your local governmental entity's website. Find out when the meetings are. Attend the meetings and speak up. All these meetings have a public input segment. Use it! Don't count of others to speak for you. Chances are, if you don't do it, it won't get done.


What Is Factory Farming?

"Factory farming is the practice of raising livestock in confinement at high stocking density, where a farm operates as a factory — a practice typical in industrial farming by agribusinesses. The main product of this industry is meat, milk and eggs for human consumption.

Confinement at high stocking density is one part of a systematic effort to produce the highest output at the lowest cost by relying on economies of scale, modern machinery, biotechnology, and global trade. Confinement at high stocking density requires antibiotics and pesticides to mitigate the spread of disease and pestilence exacerbated by these crowded living conditions. In addition, antibiotics are used to stimulate livestock growth by killing intestinal bacteria. There are differences in the way factory farming techniques are practiced around the world. There is a continuing debate over the benefits and risks of factory farming. The issues include the efficiency of food production; animal welfare; whether it is essential for feeding the growing global human population; the environmental impact and the health risks..."

Read more at Serving History.com


Controversial CAFO Expansion In Rock County, WI

Larson Acres is a large factory farm in southern Wisconsin in Rock County near Janesville. There has been an ongoing battle between Magnolia Township and Larson Acres, Inc. to expand the farm. The Larson Acres website has some informative information with videos and pictures about what the expansion project is all about. The information on the website should give you an idea about the is being considered by Schottler Dairy, Inc. in Erin Prairie.

The Larson Acres, Inc. expansion would double the herd to 5,275 animals and cost $12.8 million. This costs roughly $4850 per cow to expand. Since
Schottler Dairy, Inc. is considering a 3800-cow operation, a quick estimate of the project would be $18.4 million ($4850 X 3800). Correct me if I'm wrong here, but there aren't many "families" I know of that can invest $18.4 million on a farm, i.e., we are not talking "family farms" here, we are talking "big business."

Check out the show-n-tell of the Larson Acres expansion project.

The article below from the Janesville Gazette. It explains the expansion plans and covers the controversy over the expansion. At the bottom of the article, there related stories to the on going controversy.

"MAGNOLIA TOWNSHIP — Today, Rock County's biggest dairy farm is pumping out 4.5 million gallons of milk a year.

If the herd doubles as proposed, it also could be pumping out 40 million gallons of manure, according to an environmental assessment released July 20 by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Larson Acres is proposing a $12.8 million expansion that would double its herd to 5,275 animals. Currently the farm raises 2,668 animals on farms at 18218 W. Highway 59, Evansville, and 17162 W. County B,

Both farms are in Magnolia Township in northwestern Rock County..."

Read more of Larson Acres' proposed expansion worries neighbors

Here is another story on Larson Acres taken from the Capital Times in Madison: Cross Country: A makeover for a dairy farm

Below is a story on the court case involving Larson Acres and Magnolia Township.
Source: Agri-view: Court of Appeals Heard Larson Acres v. Town of Magnolia Case on Feb. 17.


Proposed Schottler Dairy Has New Website

Schottler Dairy, Inc. of Somerset is in the planning stages of the permitting process for their confined animal feeding operation (cafo) being planned for Erin Prairie. They have setup a website with information concerning the dairy operation and questions being raised concerning it.

Here is the link to the website:



Democracy...You've Got A Hand In It

"Democracy is not something that happens, you know, just at election time, and it's not something that happens just with one event. It's an ongoing building process. But it also ought to be a part of our culture, a part of our lives."

Jim Hightower


Schottlers Testify At April DNR Hearing About Factory Farm Expansion

The story below titled "General DNR Permits for CAFOs Draw Comments"
by Jane Fyksen was published in the April 14, 2010 edition of Agri-View and includes information on testimony by John Schottler and his daughter, Marie Cobeth. The DNR hearing was in Eau Claire in early April. Here's the information about concerning the Schottler testimony:

"...Somerset dairy producer John Schottler, as well as his daughter, Marie Colbeth, testified in support of the proposed large dairy general permit. The Schottler family has been growing its dairy (a long-time CAFO) for decades. Colbeth testified that “slow processes” don’t necessarily yield better results (referring to earlier testimony calling for more DNR caution and time in issuing CAFO permits).

As a large operation, Colbeth said they “want to do a good job” and be good stewards. They also want their operation to be “sustainable” and use new technologies. Those technologies are, however, expensive, and expansion is needed to financially adopt some of them..."

The store includes addition comments and discussion concerning cafos. Click here to read General DNR Permits for CAFOs Draw Comments.

Farming as an environmental issue

“Believe or not – the E.P.A. and the public don’t have this basic information for thousands of factory farms because historically many have been able to avoid pollution control requirement."

John Devine
Attorney for the National Resources Defense Council

"...Animal waste, bacteria and parasites from chickens, pigs and cows drain into streams and rivers, posing a threat to human health.

The E.P.A. has agreed to propose a rule that will require concentrated animal feeding operations to report detailed data to the agency every five years, including information on type and capacity of manure storage facilities, quantity of manure generated, available land acreage to apply manure and how excess manure is disposed of..."

Read more @ Washington Post.


How factory farms undercut public health

"...the American Public Health Association has urged all levels of government to impose a moratorium on new CAFOs until a comprehensive environmental and health assessment can be conducted..."

"...Across the nation, factory farms of all types are wreaking environmental havoc. A 1995 North Carolina manure spill killed 10 million fish and closed 364,000 acres of coastal shellfish beds. In 2004 the Iowa Department of Natural Resources recorded ammonia levels near a hog factory that were six times the recommended health standard. In California’s San Joaquin Valley, air pollution from factory dairy farms is a major reason that the region’s children have asthma rates three times the national average. In eastern New Mexico—the state’s factory dairy farm belt—recent research discovered antibiotic-resistant bacteria in dairy yards..."

Read Meat-Industrial Complex at In These Times.


The Factory Farm and Water Pollution

The following article will give you an idea of what could be in store for neighbors of the pending factory farm...

"In a factory farm, the animals live on a perforated floor over a concrete slab. Especially for the wellbeing of pigs during hot weather, the buildings and pigs are watered down to bring down body temperature, and also to gather the urine and manure. The whole mix flows in a containment pit and is then pumped into the concrete pit outside..."

Read more of The Factory Farm and Water Pollution in Onearth magazine.