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Dunn County Board Considering CAFO Moratorium

Temporary Ban On Large Animal Farming Operations Could Last Up To Two Years

Michael Leland/WPR

Dunn County is the latest Wisconsin community to consider a temporary ban on large-scale dairy and other farming operations.

A draft resolution introduced in a county committee calls for a one-year moratorium on concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, with an option to extend the moratorium for a second year. It comes amidst a proposed expansion of the local Rock Creek dairy to more than 7,000 cows.

Dunn County Board Chair Steve Rasmussen said citizens want the county to re-evaluate its ordinances regarding large-scale farming.

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“There’s a feeling that there is a need for us as a county board to at least look at the situation and if there are things that we need to be addressed, then we need a little bit of time to decide how that will happen,” said Rasmussen.

Most people testifying on the moratorium spoke in favor this week. But Dunn County Board Supervisor Gary Seipel expressed concern that it could hurt family farms.

“You’re tying the hands of a lot of farmers behind their backs that may need to expand here to meet financial obligations to their creditors,” Seipel said. “Two years, that’s a lot of time, and it could be detrimental to some of these producers.”

Bayfield and Douglas counties enacted similar moratoriums this year in order to change zoning rules for farms.