Monday, April 6, 2009

What I Found Out This Weekend-CAFO

Eli on his way down the road to harvest more maple syrup.

The Amish school that is next door to one of the CAFO sites on our road.

What I found out this weekend...not much. I am in contact with an environmental organization in Viroqua called the Valley Stewardship Network. I emailed Michelle this morning & she is going to forward my questions to another member who is the point person for the CAFO information. This weekend is a long one, so I am hoping to go to their headquarters, meet a few people & see how we can help.

I did a Google search on "Jeff Petry" last night. He is the owner of the company trying to build the CAFO. Here are a couple links...

Here is a quote from a Rockford Register Star article pertaining to a fence that he built on his property, knowingly violating a village ordinance. “He holds the village and its people hostage,” she said. “Is there any way to go back and amend this agreement?” Now none of that makes me feel any better about his business practices. Not a good neighbor to have running a 3200 head factory farm.

Here is another article about a CAFO near Thief River Falls, MN. Quote “We have worked for months with Excel Dairy to get it into compliance with its permit,” MPCA Commissioner Brad Moore said in a press release. “Unfortunately, the operators have failed to implement even the most basic measures that would have helped to reduce odors while working on the compliance issue. Given the amount of time Excel [Dairy] has had to remediate the situation, we cannot allow any more time to pass. We urge Excel [Dairy] to work with the agency to bring about quick resolution to this issue.”

And another article stating "The H2S emissions appear to be coming from 2 active waste impoundments at the dairy. Based on the ambient H2S levels, in early June 2008, the Minnesota Health Department recommended that citizens leave their homes, if able, until the concentrations subsided. Marshall County public health officials reported to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) that approximately 12-15 families within ½ mile of the Excel Dairy are potentially affected by H2S exposure."

Unfortunately this is more the norm with CAFO's than not.
I'm so "up & down" about the implications of all of this. Working at our farm makes me so happy. I really don't think I'll be practicing medicine due to the accident and the farm has been my savior as far as not getting depressed. Happy-we built another wall & worked in the orchard this weekend. Sad-when we think about what could happen in the near future. I guess we can't live our lives on the "what ifs" which means we keep going.
Some pics from this weekend...

Organic oats & clover

Garlic shoot coming up through the straw.

Another wall put up. This is the back kitchen wall.


angie said...


Are you guys Public Radio listeners? Bill & I caught Friday night's Here on Earth and it was about dairy farms - they touched on how CA CAFOs are trying to come to Wisc. Someone from Viroqua even called in. It was a very interesting show.

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

This CAFO thing looks worse than I thought. I hope that You can get help fighting it!

But I think it´s a good thing that You´ll continue as usual. That will give You strength to keep on fighting!

Barb and Steve said...

Angie...we missed that but I am going to listen right now, thanks.
Christer...thank you for the support!

Anonymous said...

I have been digging up info myself on the CAFO's. I don't think I was ever aware of them, but I sure am now. Perhaps you could use the public air waves to bring notice to area farmers about all the bad stuff they do and more people will want to get into the fight. Perhaps a lobbyist or two? There has to be a group of people who can help you all fight this nasty CAFO...debbie

Anonymous said...

This is weird, but I just got off the phone with our neighbor (a mile away) at our Mountain House and she was telling me about a book she was trying to read and thought it was boring. It is a local Book Club read. The title is "Three Farms" by Mark Kramer. It is a true account of 2 farms and one CAFO who brought havac to the area. Thought I'd tell you in case you might be able to obtain it and read it - it might offer some ideas or suggestions or what they should have done instead of this...never know, it might be helpful...debbie

Anne Marie said...

Being that I went to college for a degree in Environmental Science, these types of issues really hit me hard....and your story is not the only you know- it's an up hill battle....and when the government funding is being rerouted to only the 'big wigs', and trying to put an end to us CSA and small farmer and livestock owners with the NAID, well, to put it stinks.
Keep up the good work, and know that you are not fighting these issues alone.
Last year, I wrote a column on how National Animal ID (NAID) is hurting even small families...small farms....

RedDogFarm said...


I have a contact information for people in Viroqua who are collecting signatures, if you would like it drop me an email. Our weekend place is about 2 miles straight West of you by Bud on Nottingham Ridge and Norweigen Hollow. We also have a small place by one of Petry's locations on Fortney Rd.
Would love to have you over for coffee sometime.

Barb and Steve said...

Debbie...I just got the book from the library. Thanks!
Anne Marie...thank you and I would like to read your column. It does "stink".

Barb and Steve said...

Red Dog Farm...I would love to get together for coffee and talk about this and get the contact info. So glad you found the blog.

Barb and Steve said...

Here is my contact info