A pair of videos from major media organizations this week has brought new attention to communities conflicted about the possibility of a 26,000-hog farm near a St. Croix River tributary in western Wisconsin. Swift citizen opposition has arisen after the farm was proposed, and as interest grows from other agriculture companies.
Burnett County recently passed a one-year moratorium on new permits for Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) while it studies the possibilities of stronger policies to prevent pollution and harm to communities and human health. Polk County last week followed suit, with a six-month prohibition on new hog CAFOs only.
Citizen activists have quickly teamed up to take on the factory farm proposals. A recent St. Croix 360 story by Sophia Koch detailed some of the debate and discussion.
One of the videos brings the issue primarily to a Wisconsin-wide audience. The other has reached more than a million people across the country and around the world through a popular social media channel.
The Trade Lake CAFO proposal and the local opposition were the subject of a 13-minute report by Wisconsin Public Television program Here and Now, a weekly in-depth news and public affairs program.
The program reports that the CAFO proposal would be the largest hog farm in the state of Wisconsin.
“What I’m most concerned about is our water,” says Dorothy Richards, Burnett County supervisor for the Trade Lake area.
“We’ve raised our family here,” says Ramona Moody, president of anti-CAFO group Know CAFOs. “We’ve been here for 30 years. Thirty years’ worth of love here and we want to keep it that way.”
The segment also includes an interview with Jeff Sauer, the agricultural businessman who is trying to get the CAFO approved and operating on behalf of an Iowa company. And it ends with a segment by reporter Will Cushman of WisContext, who has been republished on St. Croix 360 more than once for his reporting on the issue, in this case talking about the state of CAFO regulation and enforcement in Wisconsin.
A full transcript of the video is also available for those who don’t wish to watch.
The video below was produced by social media outlet NowThis News, and has brought national attention to the proposed hog farm.
NowThis posted the story on Facebook Monday, and it has already been viewed more than 1 million times. The site is is progressive politically, focused on social media and young audiences.