Chequamegon Bay Downstream Business Coalition

The Chequamegon Bay Downstream Business Coalition (CBDBC), which includes the 75 companies listed below, is opposed to a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) in our region.

CAFOs, or factory farms, have a proven track record of negative environmental and economic impacts. The potential threat to the health and welfare of our community, which includes our businesses, cannot be overstated. CAFOs pose a significant new threat to the watersheds flowing into Lake Superior. The proposed Badgerwood CAFO is vastly different from the family farming that built this region, and has the potential to spread toxic sewage, airborne disease and pollutants. Runoff from the proposed Badgerwood operation, which may contain antibiotics, e-coli, antibiotic resistant bacteria, as well as phosphorus and nitrogen, will likely flow directly into the Fish Creek watershed, which empties into the Chequamegon Bay and Lake Superior.

The tourist and outdoor industries of the Chequamegon Bay Region, which employ nearly 1,000 people and bring in $53.8 million annually, rely on the clean waters of the Lake Superior Basin to entice customers.*  The Chequamegon Bay, Fish Creek Estuary, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and Lake Superior are vital attractions in this region, and they are the foundation for our thriving tourist economy. They are also the foundation for our region's quality of life, which has enabled our tourist-based businesses, and our many other regional businesses, to recruit and retain skilled employees.

The member businesses of the CBDBC represent a cross section of employers in the area, and include agriculture, technology, manufacturing, entertainment, the trades, and services as well as tourism. The 70+ CBDBC businesses currently employ nearly 1,000 people. We are vitally connected to the entire regional economy, and its success is our success. We need clean water, clean air, and clean living and working environments in order to exist and continue to support and add jobs to the area.

The members of the CBDBC support and benefit from family farming, which has helped build the economy and culture of this region. As primarily owner-operators, we are pro-worker and pro-economic development, and we have and will continue to rely on local agriculture as a vital component of our regional economy. But we fear the degradation that factory farming would bring to our area in terms of community health and safety, as well as the disruption to the economics of family farming, and the obvious damage to our environment:  to our air, to our land's fertility, to our ground water (wells) and to our surface water (Lake Superior). We believe a CAFO’s risks to our health, safety and environment pose long-term threats to our regional economy that far outweigh the purported benefits.

There is much work to be done to ensure that the South Shore of Lake Superior and the Chequamegon Bay region remain environmentally sound and economically vibrant. Economic planning and development are a vital part of the process. But the potential financial disruption and negative environmental impacts caused by CAFO operations are not what our area needs.

The Chequamegon Bay Downstream Business Coalition therefore calls on our local and state elected officials and regulatory agencies to develop and enforce stringent standards that will prevent environmental damage by any proposed CAFO.

*Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. (2015). Tourism to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore creates $54 million in Economic Benefits [Press Release].  

Click here to view letter to the Bayfield County Board signed by the original members in support of an Operations Ordinance.


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