Welcome to Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin.

Scott Murray did not want to leave the home in rural Juneau County where he and his family had lived for more than 20 years. But with the house surrounded on three sides by manure irrigation systems, life had become a nightmare.

“It even got into the walls of our home,” Murray said of the liquid manure spray that drifted onto his property from the Central Sands Dairy across the road. “It was an ammonia smell. It hurt so bad even to breathe.”

In 2011, the Murrays sold their house and moved.

[. . .]

Applying liquid manure to fields using pipelines and farm irrigation systems is less expensive than trucking manure and applying it with traditional land-spreading rigs. Proponents also say it is less likely to pollute because it allows for more precise application of manure, which provides necessary nutrients to the soil. And runoff is less likely when manure can be applied when crops are in the field, they say.

Currently, 14 of the state’s industrial-sized dairy farms, also called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, use manure irrigation, according to the state DNR.

That number could rise dramatically. Wisconsin has 258 dairy farms categorized as CAFOs.

“We’re getting more and more requests in the department to use the technology,” said Andrew Craig, a DNR water resources specialist who is working with the manure irrigation group.

The issue is tied inextricably to the controversial spread of CAFOs across the Wisconsin landscape. The farms produce overwhelming amounts of manure and have angered and frustrated nearby residents who feel they have little control over the growth and operations of the industrial farms. Cattle on Wisconsin farms produce as much waste each year as the combined populations of Tokyo and Mexico City, according to calculations by Gordon Stevenson, a retired former chief of the DNR’s runoff management section.

And here’s how Gov. Walker’s Wisconsin is “working” for everyday citizens (emphasis added):

But, in the meantime, the DNR continues to grant approvals for CAFOs to use manure spraying, once even exempting an applicant from current regulations, according to a legal challenge. Critics doubt the work group will ban the practice, given that the push to expand it is coming from big agricultural interests.

Scott Walker’s Wisconsin: now with more liquid manure spraying!

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7 Responses to Scott Walker’s Wisconsin: now with more liquid manure spraying!

  1. independent guy says:

    Walker is no more responsible than Doyle, McCallum, Thompson, Earl or Dreyfus.
    Assuming the blog topic IS CAFO’s, you darn right they should be highly regulated if not limited for water, air and quality of life reasons.
    There was a time 40 years ago where in general a farmer had a 40 cow herd and spread a daily load on his 200 acres as fertilizer and it was sustainable. At this time, the landscape has changed to a corporation with 4000 cows, but does not have access to 20,000 acres so as to be sustainable. The CAFO’s have created this situation and they should carry the burden.
    One of the problems with regulation is the WDNR. Rather than take the common sense (40 cows/200 acres) approach, they take the “scientific”, book smart approach and use formulas such as liters per acre. Well there are differences in soil content, some can withstand more and some less. It matters whether or not the stuff is spread on top or knifed into the ground. Using these out of touch formulas cracks and opens the door for these Frankenstein farms.
    Reality is that any herd must grow 4-5% minimum every two years to retain profitability. The challenge is how protect the family farm yet protect citizens from CAFO’s.
    I don’t have the answer. Just thought it reasonable to portray the picture of reality so that individuals can contemplate.
    Signed,
    Former Farm Boy

  2. Duane12 says:

    Thanks for a fair and informative comment on a troubling problem.

    I’ve allowed small, nearby farmers to “fertilize” my 40 acres of light soil with both hog and cattle “waste.”

    I like milk and hamburger! 😉

  3. gone girl says:

    I knew it was over 20 years ago when big seed corn companies came in bought up all the farms around us and bulldozed down all the 150 year old oak trees, at least 5000 acres of them. Then they burned down all the old farmhouses and barns. Lo and behold, it was the WDNR there holding the industrialists hands saying it’s alright. They all need to be stopped or Wisconsin will be another used up empty paint can dust bowl. Think I’m lying? The places I hold in my heart are truly gone. The WDNR is a sell out monster, in bed with big business. Stop them at ALL cost.

  4. Joe Kallas says:

    This is not a partisan issue. Besides the waste problem there is a water issue. High capacity wells are drying up lakes and streams. The DNR has surrendered to the corporate bosses. Everything comes back around to “job creation”. Who works on the CAFOs? Mostly immigrant labor. This leads to the need for immigration reform because no body else wants to work on these mega farms. That leads to animal abuse because too many people are hired who have no experience farming. It is a mess that our elected officials do not want to touch with a 10 foot pole. Former farm boy knows what he is talking about. Too bad no one is listening.

  5. Duane12 says:

    “Manure digesters seen as best hope for curbing lake pollution, but drawbacks remain.”

    Very informative article in today’s news: http://host.madison.com/news/local/writers/jessica_vanegeren/manure-digesters-seen-as-best-hope-for-curbing-lake-pollution/article_299d8144-ad71-5ad0-b671-b80127f0661b.html

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