From: Dale Hadler
On February 21, the Winona County Board of Adjustment will meet to discuss a variance request from Daley Farms to expand its operation near Lewiston to 5,968 animal units (4,628 cows and calves), almost four times the current county animal unit cap of 1,500 units. There are many reasons to oppose this expansion and variance: the 92-million gallons of water it will use annually, the 46-million gallons of manure it will produce, the continuing unresolved problem of nitrates in local groundwater, as well as the general sensitivity of karst topography — all good reasons to oppose this expansion. As important as these issues are, another issue that needs some attention is the impact that this expansion will have on smaller dairies, which will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage with such a large dairy. These include dairies that may still have their cattle on pasture, a practice that has been proven to create and enhance organic matter in the soil, which has been scientifically proven to sequester climate-changing greenhouse gases created by agriculture. These smaller dairies keep more people on the land and in our smaller communities. They function without the negative environmental impact of these large factory farm operations like the one proposed by the Daleys. There are plenty of accounts from farm-based social media pages and in farm country newspapers to substantiate the truth of my position, so let’s give the little guy a break and let these families continue their intergenerational farm dreams. Oppose the variance and the expansion. Help these smaller dairies continue to compete and produce good, quality dairy products.