DNR Receives Application For CAFO Near Lake Superior

Iowa-Based Reicks View Farms Begins Process Of Getting Permit For Large-Scale Hog Farm

Above, a proposed design for a three-barn CAFO that Reicks View Farms included in its application to the DNR.

The state has received an application for the first proposed large-scale hog farm near Lake Superior.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Duane Popple is a wastewater specialist who covers 33 concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, in northwestern Wisconsin. Popple said Iowa-based Reicks View Farms is applying for a water quality permit for a CAFO that would have around 100 boars; 4,100 hogs; 7,500 sows; and almost 15,000 piglets.

“We say that if your intent is to be over 1,000 animals, that you need to apply for the permit,” said Popple.

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Popple said Reicks has proposed three large barns for its operation. He said the farm purchased around 500 acres for the hog CAFO in the town of Eileen. However, he noted they’ll need to lease more land for their proposed expansion.

Popple said an environmental review and approval of facility plans prior to construction will be required before any permit could be issued. He also said they haven’t developed a nutrient management plan yet, but the department received no indication Reicks will use aerial manure spraying. In initial conversations, Popple said owners stated plans to inject manure into the soil using a hose system.

All of those details will be addressed in the nutrient management plan, which is part of the complete application. The application will be considered complete when the DNR decides it has all the information needed to determine whether a permit should be issued.

He said it typically takes a year to issue a permit after a preliminary application is received. The application was submitted on Dec. 23.

Local Residents Express Concern

Bayfield County’s land and zoning departments held a joint committee meeting this week to discuss the proposed hog farm. Bayfield County Zoning Administrator Rob Schierman said that around 50 people came to voice concerns about the proposal.

“Everybody on both sides is concerned about protecting the environment, protecting the water, protecting the resources that bring everybody to this area in the first place,” said Schierman.

Bayfield County Land and Water Conservation Director Ben Dufford said both committees unanimously voted to adopt the state’s standard for siting livestock facilities, as well as an ordinance to ban aerial spraying of liquid manure.

Dufford said the proposed ordinances are targeted toward “new larger farms that may want to move to the country.” They wouldn’t affect existing small farmers in the region.

“They’ve voluntarily worked with us for years on doing nutrient management, reconstructing feedlots to better manage their manure and their liquids, putting in filter strips so liquids have several hundred yards to filter out and regenerate hay fields,” said Dufford. “They’re all doing a lot of good things right now.”

Schierman said large-scale farms are reality of the world in which we live, especially given “the amount of people that the planet needs to feed.”

“If we can make sure that the oversight is in place and the facilities are operated in a manner that doesn’t contaminate groundwater or cause any pollution problems, hopefully it will benefit everybody,” said Schierman.

Both ordinances may be taken up by the full board at its Jan. 27 meeting.

You can read the Reicks View Farms application below: