Welcome to KnowCAFOs, a corporation dedicated to keeping you informed about the advance of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) into our communities. A CAFO farrowing operation has filed a preliminary application for a facility in Trade Lake Township in southern Burnett County, Wisconsin. This industrial operation that intends to house 26,350 hogs, approximately 7,500 sows that could have up to 30 pigs per year per sow! (link). Do the math. (7,500×30=225,000). While some won’t survive and will be composted on site, the remainder will presumably be shipped to facilities close by in Burnett and Polk in lots of 2,499 per facility to be fed off. That means a huge number of new hog farms in both counties.
The proposed Trade Lake facility admits that it will spread approximately 9 million gallons of liquid manure on just over 1,000 nearby acres per year. Smaller feed lot facilities will have their own manure to spread. A current Water Resource Survey of the Trade Lake Township (tradelakewi.com, hopefully soon) states that there is only one aquifer that residents have available for drinking water. The CAFO intends to remove millions of gallons of that water yearly and return some of it into local fields as liquid manure. Some will surely seep into the ground and penetrate the aquafer. More of the feces will run off fields into ditches which drain into our local streams, rivers and lakes. Drinking and swimming in contaminated water has severe negative health effects for humans (link) and can destroy the natural resources that support our area.
The smell can travel downwind up to six miles. Sitting outside on a warm summer evening will be disgusting if the wind is right. And the smell is not just a bad odor—the air emitted from industrial hog farms contains contaminates such as: Ammonia; Hydrogen Sulfide; and Methane.
So, the government will protect our health and property values, right? Not so fast. The Burnett and Polk County governments have, with extreme public input, instituted moratoriums and formed committees to investigate these CAFOs. Unfortunately, both County committees have so far failed to consider the health effects of these CAFOs on their citizens. (link), (link) and (link).
Any Ordinance MUST include health-related clauses to protect the community. Based on extensive public and supervisor input, several Townships have created Ordinances that address these issues. Trade Lake Ordinance (link). Eureka Ordinance (link).
The Counties need to follow suit.
Who Are We?
KnowCAFOs, Inc. is a non-profit educational corporation that is concerned about water, air, and rural quality of life. The new Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) that are targeting Northwest Wisconsin bring with them the potential to crush family farms, tourism, and property values. To support us in our efforts to protect your way of life, please donate to support the costs of signs, website, and brochures. Include your email address to receive periodic updates. It will be safe with us and never abused.
What Can You Do?
- Take Action: Contact decision-makers with your concerns.
- Become a supporter of KnowCAFOs.org
- Donate to KnowCAFOs.org
- Stay in the loop on Facebook at Farms not Factory Farms Burnett County Wisconsin
- Support local farmers by buying your family’s eating, canning, and freezer food locally. Check out this list. Anyone (business or not) who sells locally raised products may contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list.
What is a CAFO (Factory Farm)?
- “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation” = CAFO (Industrial Producers)
- Houses hundreds to multiple thousands of animals in confined warehouse style buildings – no little red barns and few (if any) pastures on these industrial agriculture properties
- There are nearly 300 CAFOs in Wisconsin alone
- Wisconsin currently has 14 hog CAFOs statewide
Why are CAFOs a Concern?
- Barns emit toxic gases/odors – risks to workers and neighboring residences
- Huge problems with animal wastes (volume) and farm field spreading creates issues with ground and surface water pollution (algae-green lakes, fish kills, undrinkable water in private homes)
- Infiltration of bacteria into wetlands, lakes, rivers and streams
- Private well contamination issues (nitrates and bacteria such as e. coli, salmonella, etc.)
- Overuse of antibiotics due to close proximity of animals to each other (residual medications in meat, milk, & cheese linked to antibiotic resistance in humans)
- Creates monopolies in the meat industry (751 family farms went out of business since April 2018)
- Decreased property values for surrounding rural residents within 3 miles of the facility
- Self-reporting by industrial producers of violations (spills) is not working; DNR staff only cited 4% of violations committed by industrial producers per the Legislative Audit Report in June 2016
What about the proposed Burnett/Polk County CAFO (Suidae Health & Production are the industrial ag owners)?
- Close proximity to St. Croix River – located in the St. Croix River watershed
- Close proximity to Fish Lake Wildlife Area
- Proposal for 26,350 hogs in this one location
- 6.8 million gallons of manure produced annually and spread on area fields where runoff into groundwater, rivers, and streams is very likely
- Potential expansion to include slaughterhouse (along with its contaminants)
- Out-of-state company with no roots in Wisconsin – not a local family farmer to approach with concerns