Possible flaws found in application for large Burnett County hog facility

Reporter raises questions about details of who owns the proposed project — and whether documents were accurate.




2 minute read

Trade Lake Town Hall (Greg Seitz/St. Croix 360)

The application by Cumberland LLC to operate a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) in the St. Croix River watershed that was recently submitted to the state may not be accurate or complete. That is according to reporting by Steve Clark in the Inter-County Leader.

In an extensive article on the state of the application and resistance to it in the small northwest Wisconsin community of Trade Lake, Clark described several questionable details in the application materials. Clark reports:

“In the nutrient management plan where it asks for the “physical address of the operation,” it states 21071 Melo Drive – Melin’s home. However, the site plan shows it to be at 12884 State Road 48 – approximately 40 acres that largely surrounds a radio tower and includes a 2.4-acre parcel Melin sold to Cumberland LLC several years ago.

“Using Burnett County’s GIS mapping service, the mailing address and names of the owners is provided. Melin is the owner of 37 of the acres but he doesn’t reside there.

“It is noteworthy that the address given for the Cumberland LLC property is an Iowa address – 2111 100th Ave., Algona, Iowa. This is the headquarters of Suidae Health and Production, an entity that is also never mentioned in the application.

“In fact, in the application the address for Cumberland is listed as N13126 Bruce Mound Ave. in Thorp, Wisconsin. Google maps reveals this to be the address of KS Performance and Repair – a car repair business operated by Karlyle Sauer.

“While opponents to the CAFO like Pahl have argued the application is flawed because of this lack of transparency, even proponents have expressed concerns. This is because the DNR instructions explicitly state the person signing the documents must be the owner or corporate officer. The signatories of the documents – Jeffery Sauer and Samuel Guyer – are neither.

“According to documents obtained from the Wisconsin secretary of state, all of the officers and board members of Cumberland LLC live in Iowa. They are virtually identical to the makeup of Suidae Health and Production, incorporated in Iowa. It is unclear what Jeff Sauer’s relationship to Cumberland LLC is, but he is not an officer, board member, registered agent or even employee.”

– Hog CAFO application raises new questions, Inter-County Leader, May 20, 2021


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4 responses to “Possible flaws found in application for large Burnett County hog facility”

  1. Dennis Milotzky Avatar
    Dennis Milotzky

    So much for transparency, huh!

  2. Carol Harvieux Lehman Avatar
    Carol Harvieux Lehman

    The St.Croix River is clean. We want it to stay clean, it seems like we have been fighting for this beautiful river for so many years. My mother and dad lived in Stillwater and bought a cabin overlooking the St. Croix, we fished and swam in that river, it gave my entire family total peace. Now I am suppose to tell my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren they can no longer enjoy the beauty, the fresh smells of this gorgeous uncontaminated waterway. STOP, is money so important to destroy what we cannot fix when it becomes too late. are we going to be happy when this river is over taken by carp and other bottom feeder eating the sludge from pig body parts and seeing our beautiful islands turned into stench that won’t leave. Please DO NOT let this happen, Stillwater will no longer be a beautiful river town, it will become filthy with contamination.

  3. KD Avatar

    How any resident would think that having a large scale hog farm (the animals NEVER go outside) they breed, birth, grow and leave for slaughter from this torture chamber and all the waste generated goes into the environment would think this is OK, is inconceivable! Don’t be fooled by people saying this is the “family business” and “farming”. This is as far from farming as one can get.

  4. Dr. John Persico Jr. Avatar
    Dr. John Persico Jr.

    This is just another example of flawed short-term thinking driven by profits and greed. The people in our area will probably not benefit financially from this operation but even if there are some minor benefits in terms of a few jobs created, the long-term degradation to our lakes and environment will far outweigh any benefits. There must be a balance between economic development and environmental concerns but we have forgotten this fact and allowed economic concerns to grossly distort the balance in this country. Those of us who see the need for this balance are not anti-economic development, but the true costs of any such development need to be weighed in the equation governing costs and benefits to the larger community. These CAFO’s have become nightmares to the communities where they are sited due to lack of oversight by the leaders that we elect to serve our greater interests.


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Possible flaws found in application for large Burnett County hog facility