A pair of Kewaunee dairy farms apply for permit to expand their herd

The Wisconsin DNR held a public meeting where the majority of people spoke out against two concentrated animal feeding operations, CAFOS, increasing the size of their heard amidst the current water problems in Kewaunee.

For the last few years several residents in Kewaunee County have not had safe water for their basic everyday needs because the Karst bedrock acts like a sieve and everything that seeps through the soils makes its way to the water table.

For years people have blamed these CAFOS, the large dairy farms and the manure that comes from day to day operations for one of Kewaunee's largest industries.

Four CAFOS are renewing their permits with the DNR and a new CAFO Sandway Farms out of Denmark is applying for a first time permit.

The public spoke out in opposition to Kinnard Farms attempting to raise the amount of cows by 28 percent from 10,060 to 12,860 and Wakker Dairy Farm proposing a jump from 3,123 to 4,612 animals.

Lee Kinnard told us his farm does not have a plan to increase their herd, but Kinnard Farms wants to be ready in case an opportunity comes because they apply for their permit every five years.

Local 5 also talked to farmers about the Peninsula Pride group that has brought dairy farmers together in the last two years to work together in an effort to limit the environmental impact of these CAFOS.

They said they are making exciting strides using the latest technologies, nutrient management techniques and implementing cover crops, however they also said it is a work in progress as the industry continues to evolve.

Kinnard a 5th generation farmer, said that dairy farming has changed over the years as the world around us has changed.

It's no longer small family farms that pass the farm down from generation to generation, Kinnard said that like any other industry they have to offer careers that attract the best and the brightest.

Meanwhile county leaders and people from both Kewaunee and Door County made it clear that any expansion of these CAFOS needs to go through a moratorium and a stricter process before expansion.

They said it makes no sense to allow these farms to expand while the current state of the water has contaminates and so many people can't use their well water to bathe.

The people also challenged the DNR to uphold their morals to preserve, protect, manage and maintain the states natural resources.

The public can comment on these permits until December 5th by emailing the DNR at Casey.Jones@wi.gov or by mail at Oshkosh Service Center, 625 E. County Road Y, Oshkosh WI, 54901.

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