Milk - Dunn County case
Tribune file photo

After nearly a year, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has conditionally approved the permits needed for a dairy in southern Dunn County to significantly expand its operation.

On Friday, Cranberry Creek Dairy received the nutrient management plan (NMP) permits that will allow the Rock Creek operation to increase its herd from 2,107 animals to 6,495 animals — specifically 4,375 milking and dry cows, 400 heifers, and 650 calves — by the end of 2018. The permit expires on June 30, 2022.

The dairy is owned by the Radle family. According to the permit, the expanded Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is projected to produce more than 49 million gallons of liquid manure each year in addition to 475 tons of solid manure.

The NMP calls for the waste to be spread on 4,934 acres of land, some owned by the Radles, while the majority is either leased, contracted, or under manure agreements.

The DNR held two public informational hearings at the Rock Creek Town Hall. On Sept. 20, 2016, a number of nearby landowners told DNR representative Leah Nicol that they were surprised and angered to find their names and parcels on the Radle’s NMP list for spreading manure from their operation.

To confirm the accuracy of the land spreading acreage in the plant, the DNR required Cranberry Creek to submit copies of all rental contracts and agreements. Because of concerns about adequate information in the revised plan that was submitted, the DNR issued a notice of noncompliance on March 8, followed by a violation notice on June 7. The agency said that the issues raised have since been resolved.

Following a second hearing on March 28, the DNR reviewed the changes made to the plan. Over the course of the next two months, 525 acres were removed from the plan, leading to a reduction of the original proposed expansion from 7,250 to 6,495 for crop year 2018.

In its approval letter to Jeremy Radle, the DNR recommends that Cranberry Creek Dairy review the plan to ensure that all those involved with applying manure are familiar with the spreading protocol and maps as well as the record keeping requirements.

County moratorium, CAFO study

A six-month moratorium on the expansion and creation of large-scale livestock facilities in Dunn County expired on May 4. At its May 17 meeting, the county board voted 17-11 to grant a 45-day extension of the moratorium pending ongoing study.

As part of the moratorium, a Livestock Operations Study Group was formed to investigate, collect and analyze information about the impacts of large-scale livestock facilities on groundwater, surface water and air quality as they apply to Dunn County.

On Wednesday, the board of supervisors will receive the study group’s final report which includes a recommendation to adopt an ordinance that expands the county’s regulations to include livestock operations and licensing.

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Dunn County News editor

Barbara Lyon is the editor of The Dunn County News in Menomonie, WI.

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