Issues: Media Reports

Jim Zorn — Town of Eileen Wisconsin Resident

Jim Zorn lives a 1/2 mile away from the proposed Badgerwood CAFO and its 26,000 hogs in the Town of Eileen. He's concerned about how those Iowan hogs will impact his quality of life and the ability to enjoy his home. 

Based on the evidence generated by social science research, we conclude that public concern about the detrimental community impacts of industrialized farming is warranted. In brief, this conclusion rests on five decades of government and academic concern with this topic, a concern that has not abetted but that has grown more intense in recent years, as the social and environmental problems associated with large animal confinement operations [CAFOs] have become widely recognized. It rests on the consistency of five decades of social science research which has found detrimental effects of industrialized farming on many indicators of community quality of life, particularly those involving the social fabric of communities. And it rests on the new round of risks posed by industrialized farming to Heartland agriculture, communities, the environment, and regional development as a whole.
— A 2006 report commissioned by the North Dakota Attorney General (which reviewed 56 socioeconomic studies regarding CAFOs impacts on rural communities)

Jim has every right to breathe clean air, drink clean water and continue to enjoy the quality of life he's come to expect in northern Wisconsin. And it's not fair or reasonable for Dale Reicks, a hog CAFO owner from Iowa, to ask Jim to sacrifice his rights for Reicks bottom line.

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Larry Fickbohm — Farmer in Port Wing, Wisconsin

Good farmers, who take seriously their duties as stewards of Creation and of their land’s inheritors, contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows. These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery.
— Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food

Larry Fickbohm is a fourth generation farmer who grew up in Chickasaw County, Iowa and owns a 300 acre farm outside Port Wing, WI. He bought his farm in 1991, and raises cattle, sheep and hogs. 

When Larry testified before the Bayfield County Board of Supervisors in February 2015, he had this to say about his home state, "We would take jugs of water from our tap because we didn't want to drink the water in Chickasaw County. Now, we have lots of tourists that come up here from Iowa....has anybody ever heard of an Iowan bringing tap water to Bayfield County?"

Larry is a family farmer who takes his responsibility to the animals he's raising and the land he's cultivating seriously. And his commitment is in stark contrast to Dale Reicks, his 40-plus hog CAFOs and annual production of 2.95 million four-ounce servings of pork.

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Mike Wiggins on Home, Heritage, Food, and Politics

Mike Wiggins, Jr., former chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe Tribe, is a life-long resident of northern Wisconsin. He speaks eloquently about the importance of protecting and conserving our environment so it will continue to provide for future generations.

The proposed Badgerwood CAFO is sited in the Fish Creek Watershed and the 10 million gallons of manure produced yearly by 26,000 hogs will be land-spread or injected into farm fields in the Fish Creek Watershed, less than 8 miles from Lake Superior.

"The Kakagon and Bad River Sloughs wetland complex represent everything our Tribal People hold dear and sacred on many different levels. Spiritually, the ‘place’ and everything it has, the clean water, the winged, the seasons, the rice and fish, connects us with our ancestors and the Creator. The Sloughs sustain the physical well-being of our community with foods such as wild rice, fish, cranberries, waterfowl, venison, and medicines. From an Anishinabe (Chippewa) world-view perspective, the wetlands ecosystem is a tangible representation of our values of caring for the environment. The international Ramsar recognition is an honor for the Bad River Band and maybe even more importantly, the recognition sends a message about the importance and critical need for biologically productive and water rich areas such as the Kakagon and Bad River Sloughs wetland complex. There is water purification, ecological harmony, and people who are interwoven into this ‘place’ where the Bad River Reservation dovetails with Lake Superior.” ~ Mike Wiggins, Jr. 

Read about the Kakagon Sloughs, a RAMSAR Wetland of Importance. 

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Jeff Bodin and the Fisheries of Lake Superior

Jeff Bodin is a fourth generation fisherman and runs Bodin's Fisheries, a family-owned fish house  in Bayfield, Wisconsin. He's concerned about the impact the proposed Badgerwood CAFO, with its 26,000 hogs and 10 million gallons of manure (produced annually), will have the fisheries of Lake Superior. 

The proposed Badgerwood CAFO is sited in the Fish Creek Watershed and the 10 million gallons of manure produced yearly by 26,000 hogs will be land-spread or injected into farm fields in the Fish Creek Watershed, less than 8 miles from Lake Superior. 

The Wisconsin DNR estimated that the Fish Creek watershed accounted for 20 percent of Lake Superior’s self-sustaining, migratory fisheries and spawned 47,000 one-year-old migratory trout and young-of-the year Coho salmon in the 1990s.

The Badgerwood CAFO and the farm fields that will receive its manure is upstream from this sensitive and important fish spawning and nursery grounds and, given the self-reporting/self-regulating nature of the CAFO industry, is extremely vulnerable to the water pollution that often accompanies industrial agriculture. 

Read Fish Creek Watershed Management and Restoration 2011 for more information. 

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Deb Lewis and the City of Ashland's Drinking Water

Deb Lewis is the Mayor of Ashland, Wisconsin and she's deeply concerned about the impact the proposed Badgerwood CAFO's 26,000 hogs and 10 million gallons of manure will have on the drinking water of Ashland's 8,130 citizens.  

The proposed Badgerwood CAFO is sited in the Fish Creek Watershed and the 10 million gallons of manure produced yearly by 26,000 hogs will be land-spread or injected into farm fields in the Fish Creek Watershed, less than 8 miles from Lake Superior. The threat to Ashland's drinking water from agricultural run-off can not be overstated because they get their drinking water from the Chequamegon Bay in Lake Superior. 

Mayor Lewis is right to be concerned; her constituents drinking water is at risk due to the expansion of factory farms into the Lake Superior Basin.  

Please read Ashland's Source Water Assessment for more information.  

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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