A key committee in Burnett County will discuss changing zoning rules next week that could open the door to a proposed confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) for 26,000 hogs near a St. Croix River tributary.
Local citizens concerned about harm to health, water, air, and quality of life will protest before the meeting in Siren, Wis. on July 6. The rally is at 8 a.m., with the meeting at 9 a.m., at the Burnett County Government Center in Siren, Wis. No members of the public will be allowed in the meeting room, but comments can be submitted virtually, with advanced registration. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for August.
The Land Use and Information Committee is planning to discuss changes to chapter 30 of the county’s ordinances, which regulates zoning. It comes after Iowa company Cumberland LLC recently filed an application to the Department of Natural Resources for a CAFO in the Trade River watershed. Questions have been raised about the application’s accuracy and completeness.
The meeting agenda calls for a discussion related to the Large Scale Livestock Facility Committee recommendations finalized last December. Those recommendations included changes to the county’s zoning, including classifying lands in “Exclusive Agriculture Zones” where unlimited numbers of animals could be housed.
Declaring “We Are Not a Sacrifice Zone,” residents who live in areas that could be zoned “Exclusive Agriculture Use” say the county intends to concentrate CAFOs there. Trade Lake Township, where Cumberland hopes to construct its facility, has a significant amount of these lands.
Local concerns include the large amounts of dangerous and foul-smelling gasses, which are completely unregulated. There are no air quality regulations for such facilities. And Cumberland says it would distribute about 9 million gallons of waste on nearby farm fields each year.
Such large, corporate-owned facilities use a form of industrial agriculture that has caused pollution of lakes, rivers, and groundwater in Iowa and elsewhere. There are no such facilities in the St. Croix watershed yet.
Organizers encourage concerned citizens to join the rally, but urge participants to be polite. The Burnett County Government Center is located at 7410 County Road K, Siren, WI 54872. The meeting will also be streamed by the county on YouTube.