From: Tim Ahrens



“No permit shall be issued for a feedlot having in excess of 1,500 animal units per feedlot site.” - Winona County Ordinance 8.4.2

If you are able to read the above excerpt from Winona County Zoning ordinance, you must wonder, as I do, why Daley Farm of Lewiston is once again appearing before the Winona County Board of Adjustment (BOA) seeking permit for a dairy expansion totaling over 5,900 animal units.

It’s simple math: 5,900 is greater than 1,500 (and it’s not even close).

Winona County’s 1,500 animal unit cap isn’t some invention by the county to stifle Daley Farm either. It’s in line with regulations enacted by counties around the country to curb the environmental effects of factory farming. It’s my understanding that Daley’s upcoming proposal wouldn’t just be against the law in Winona County but would also violate ordinances in Fillmore, Mower, Dodge, Freeborn, Rice, and others, had the expansion been proposed there. 

In plain English, the county ordinance states that the Daley’s expansion may not be permitted. Despite this, members of the BOA are being asked, once again, to suspend their literacy of ordinance, and good conscience, in favor of Daley’s expansion. To me, it seems that not only does Daley Farm refuse to follow the law, they also insist that the law must follow their desire. 

In reference to this upcoming second trip before the BOA, Ben Daley told the Winona Post in September, “We’ll go through the whole process and appeal it later.” 

From where I stand, that sounds like expressing the intent of legal action for events that have yet to occur. What’s your definition of intimidation? How would you feel if you were a Board of Adjustments member with a duty to uphold and apply the 1,500 animal unit cap ordinance fairly?

It seems like an abuse of the community, the county, our public servants, and our law to continue to attempt to use the county BOA to circumvent local ordinance. Frankly, it’s time this behavior from Daley Farm stops. I do believe that Daleys are a good family, but I don’t believe this is what a good family does.

I would ask you to stand up for the protection of our ordinances and to support the public servants who uphold them. Please contact members of the Winona County Board of Adjustment and ask them to deny Daley Farm’s variance request because it explicitly violates the language and intent of local law.


Editor’s note: Winona County Zoning Ordinance and state law allows property owners to request variances, or exceptions, to zoning limits.