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Landowners At Odds With CAFO Operator Over Manure Spreading Plans

Letter Alleges Company Failed To Seek Permission From Property Holders

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A group of northern Wisconsin landowners have sent a letter to the state because they’re upset over an Iowa company’s plans to spread hog manure on their land. They say the company never approached them about its plans.

Bayfield County’s Bill Franzel said he’s mad that his name appears on a list of landowners that outlines where Reicks View Farms plans to spread around 9 million gallons of manure each year from its planned 26,000-hog farm. He said others in the community took notice.

“Well, I had a lot of friends and they wouldn’t talk to me,” said Franzel. “I was wondering why the heck ain’t they talking to me anymore.”

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Franzel said he was renting out the listed land and later sold it. But, he has still signed on to the letter to the state Department of Natural Resources, along with several other landowners who say they never agreed to allow Reicks View to use their land as part of the concentrated animal feeding operation.

In the letter, they write that the DNR, “must require the CAFO to submit a revised (nutrient management plan) with these names and corresponding acreage removed.”

Gene Noem, swine operations manager with Reicks View Farms, said they have written agreements with the farmers who farm the land.

“We work with those farmers to understand their cropping plans and fertilization needs,” said Noem in an email. “Those plans are updated annually. Farmers have their own relationship with the landowners.”

Other signees like Bayfield County landowner Pat Kinney didn’t have their names published in Reicks View’s plan, but expressed other objections to the company’s proposed hog operation and their dealings with landowners.

Kinney said land he was leasing to another farm operator was transferred over to Reicks View management but he never entered into any contract to allow the company to spread manure there.

“There’s a number of us who had initially signed those leases unaware that a CAFO was going to be considered,” said Kinney.

He and his mother won’t be renewing their leases when they expire in 2018, adding they may break the lease if the farm is built.

Reicks View’s Noem said they would continue to work with farmers with whom they signed agreements and make adjustments if needed.

The DNR did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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