CRAWFORD COUNTY, Wis. (WXOW) - Many voiced their concerns over plans to create a new large hog farm in Crawford County during a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource's (DNR) virtual hearing on Thursday.
The proposed Roth Feeder Pig II hog farm will hold nearly 3,000 animals, producing 9.4 million gallons of manure and wastewater. According to CAFO permit coordinator Tyler Dix, the facility plans to use 1,455 acres of cropland for manure application.
Dix said the project also includes a gestation barn and GDU barn that both house waste storage facilities. Once built, Dix stated the farm plans to follow a monitoring and inspection program, issuing annual reports each year on January 31.
Many residents objected to the proposed project, as they fear the farm's close proximity to the Kickapoo River and other local waterways could contaminate the water.
Additionally, the fractured bedrock underlying much of the region makes the area susceptible to groundwater contamination, according to the Crawford County Board of Supervisors.
Crawford County resident Jude Hartwick, who built a cabin in the area, encouraged the DNR to think about local families like his before moving forward with the project.
"We have the cabin for our grandkids and the next generations," said Hartwick. "My kids won't go there if they have no water that they can drink."
Beyond water quality concerns, Hartwick and other attendees also expressed worries about how the farm would impact the area's air quality, property value, and local tourism.
La Crosse family physician Laurie Logan also voiced concerns about how the farm could potentially harm her patients in the region.
"There is a risk of manure escaping the areas that are designed to contain it, and once that damage is done its permanent," said Logan.
Many attendees called on the DNR to conduct an environmental impact study before proceeding with the project. Other community members recently tried to raise awareness about water quality in the region, including a joint-news conference.
According to the DNR, residents can submit written comments about the project until June 17. The organization said it will then take all remarks into account, before making a final decision on whether or not a permit will be issued.
All responses can be sent to Dix via email at email@example.com, or mailed to 101 South Webster Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53703. For additional information on the farm's proposal, visit the DNR's website.