Issues: Media Reports

My Neighbor the CAFO

Letter to the Editor, Ashland Daily Press,  Nov 27, 2015

After living at my residence for 35 years, I am experiencing the impacts of the Badgerwood CAFO, and it hasn’t even moved in yet! This spring, representatives of Reicks View Farms including Brady Reicks, a Public Relations Specialist, the feed manager and a Livestock Manager visited my residence and weeks later followed up with a phone conference to answer my questions about odors, manure, drainage and the effect on my water supply. My buildings are 30 feet from Reicks land. During the visit from Reicks representatives, I was told, “Farms stink! That is the reality of the situation.” And, “if you have contamination of your well water, you will never be able to prove that it was the CAFO that caused it.” As a health and science teacher and having farmed all my life, I am very concerned about the manure that may be laced with drugs for herd health, along with the pesticides and herbicides that will find their way into my yard.

As a good neighbor, the Reicks View Farms representatives stated they would refrain from spreading manure if I had an outdoor family gathering planned so as not to “stink” me out. I know there is a short window of opportunity to spread manure on red clay fields. To suggest Badgerwood would refrain from spreading some of the 6.8 million gallons of manure for me to have a family gathering — really? The days of enjoying outdoor family activities, appreciating summer breezes to naturally cool my home, and the fresh scent of line dried laundry will soon be only memories from the past.

One hot summer evening the Crop Manager from Reicks View Farms stopped in to tell me to move my honey bees or contain them for 24 hours as farm employees planned to spray cornfields adjacent to my property for army worms. The evening spraying required a restricted use pesticide, Permethrin. Package instructions for Permethrin state: “This product is highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment on blooming crops or weeds.” Have you ever tried to lock up 70,000 bees per hive, in four hives, in the dark, while trying to keep them adequately ventilated from the summer heat? I did, and I had the bee stings to prove it. My bees survived, but after the pesticide application my nesting bluebirds disappeared. I can only assume what the bluebirds were feeding on.

A study committee for the Town of Eileen has stated that traffic on Curry Road, the road where the CAFO will be located, will increase by 50 percent. Curry Road borders my property on the west. Increased traffic yields increased dust.

With the Badgerwood CAFO right next door, my property value is sure to decrease, and selling my home may be nearly impossible. I have been told renting my home will not be a problem. CAFO workers, from out of this area, will need housing. With my home just south of the CAFO it will be an ideal rental property.

Prior to the CAFO, my hobby farm was a prime site with the largest fresh water lake in the world a short distance away. My family enjoyed a country living with all its sights and smells. Now, with the proposed largest pig factory in Wisconsin next door, life will never be the same.
— Steve Stipetich Ashland, Letter to the Editor, Ashland Daily Press, Nov 27, 2015