From: Deb Ellinghuysen
I have been reading and listening to all the arguments for and against the Daley expansion. I would like to give an argument from the forgotten people in this dilemma. There are many of us that depend on the dairy and agriculture community for our income and livelihood. I understand the argument against large versus small. There are other things to look at though; for example what other business has to ask permission to expand their business? If Land Stewardship should win this argument what size dairy operation is OK to be in Winona County? There have been editorials that we do not need dairy any longer. You have heard all the facts that milk is good for you; cheese has been proven to help keep arteries open and generally help with heart health. People work for dairies because we love the chance to take care of dairy cattle — contrary to the things that are printed in the news, we do care about animals. We are out here because we love the job. We definitely are not getting rich.
There are many people employed that work with agriculture from plumbers, implement dealers, car dealers, feed companies, milk truck drivers, veterinarians, and milkers. The reduction of all these jobs in Winona County is very dangerous for the county’s income. These people may move on to different areas or states that do have dairy jobs, thus reducing the income to businesses and the tax base. If you cannot use the land for agriculture the price of land will drop, also, lowering the income through taxes for Winona County. Houses would sit empty in towns like Altura and St. Charles; many employees of these dairies live in these towns. If they leave there would be no need to rent or own these houses anymore. The rural community and economy is important for Winona County. The Winona Area School Board did not listen to the people of Rollingstone and now they can’t pay their bills.
Whether you like it or not, you need dairy, agriculture and all of us that are employed one way or another with agriculture. The loss of income for the county could be immense. Whether you agree with me or not it is a fact that needs to be considered when making your final decision on the Daley expansion. This is only one herd but we do need to look into the future for other dairy herds and farming families.