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Farms Not Factories Action Alert

Notes From The Field


Dear Friend of Farms Not Factories, 

The Large Scale Livestock Study Committee (LSLSC) issued their report and recommendations to the Bayfield County Board of Supervisors on December 3rd. They are holding a public hearing on December 17th at the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center (NGLVC) at 6 PM to listen to citizen's feedback about their report and recommendations. You can also email your feedback through December 27th to

If you wish to address the LSLSC at the public hearing, you need to sign up when you arrive at the NGLVC and you'll be given three minutes to speak. Typically, people speak in the order they are listed on the sign-up sheet.

We learned during the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping period that the most effective and useful feedback involved specific feedback/suggestions (positive or negative) for the scoping comments and this process, with the LSLSC recommendations, is no different. The LSLSC is looking for specific comments about the Facts, Gaps and Solutions in their report from citizens.

They are hoping to receive feedback from you about:
  • what you support in the recommendations.
  • what you think is missing in the recommendations.
  • what additional pertinent information you'd like to see added to the recommendations. 
  • why you feel more stringent standards are necessary to protect the Chequamegon Bay region from the potential negative impacts caused by Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). 
It's extremely important we provide concise, targeted and relevant feedback on the LSLSC recommendations and not just a statement of "I don't support the CAFO". In order for the public hearing to be effective, we must have a good understanding of what's at risk from the CAFO as well as what's being proposed as solutions by the LSLSC.

Please plan on attending and letting the members of the LSLSC know that you appreciate all their work over the past year and what, if anything, you'd like them to add/delete/change in their recommendations to the County Board. 

From the Moving Forward-Draft report prepared by the LSLSC:

"The Bayfield County Large‐Scale Livestock Study Committee was established by County Amendatory Ordinance No. 2015‐06 and convened in April of 2015 with the task of researching, analyzing, and synthesizing scientific literature regarding the impact of large‐scale livestock facilities on ground water, surface water, and air quality, specifically as those issues apply to Bayfield County, and reporting its recommendations on appropriate county‐level regulatory approaches relative to the siting and/or operation of livestock facilities within Bayfield County to the County Board. 

The Committee recognizes the economic and cultural importance of agriculture to Bayfield County and is guided by the dual goals of having a thriving agricultural community and maintaining the public's health and safety and a healthy environment. 

The Committee has organized its work around four primary issues: groundwater, surface water, microbiology, and air quality.  For each of these issues the Committee has: 1) Identified the primary risks and impacts associated with large‐scale livestock operations, 2) Assessed whether the existing regulations and best management practices adequately mitigate those risks given the conditions in Bayfield County, and 3) For risks the Committee determined are not adequately addressed by existing regulations, proposed actions the Committee feels would mitigate those risks.   

Since April, the Committee has received presentations and information from 17 professionals working in the field of livestock agriculture.  These include professors and researchers from the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Geological Survey, and the USDA.  The information presented to the Committee was used to make Findings‐of‐Fact (Facts) in each of the four topic areas, identify gaps in existing regulations or best management practices (Gaps), and identify actions to address those gaps (Solutions).

Executive Summary of the Operations Ordinance

Please write to your county supervisor as they will be voting on the proposed operations ordinance as early as January 26th. Supervisor contact information and letter writing suggestions can be found here on our site. 


Proposed to the Large Scale Livestock Study Committee by Glenn Stoddard, Attorney for Farms Not Factories

The purpose of the proposed Operational Ordinance is to comprehensively regulate the operations of Confined Animal Feed Operations (CAFOs) of 1000 animal units or greater to adequately protect public health, safety, and general welfare, and to prevent public and private nuisances, and preserve the quality of life, environment, and existing small-scale livestock and other agricultural operations of Bayfield County (“the County”).

CAFOs have a well-documented record of causing significant adverse impacts to public health, safety, and general welfare, including adverse environmental, economic, and quality of life impacts. Wisconsin State legislature limits the County’s authority to restrict the siting of livestock facilities over 500 animal units (through Chapter ATCP 51). [Siting refers to the place where the structures and other physical facilities associated with the development of the CAFO.] All counties in Wisconsin are required by state law to allow a CAFO to locate and operate within their county.  

However, ATCP 51 offers limited protections for the risks associated with large scale animal confinement. Bayfield County residents have expressed concerns about protecting these aspects and more regulation is needed. Bayfield County does have the legal authority to regulate CAFO operations. [Operations refers to a procedure or productive activity for purposes of conducting and carrying on the business.]

In abbreviated form, the Operations Ordinance states the following:

The applicant shall apply for a “CAFO Operations Permit” with the County and pay an application fee of $1.00 per proposed animal unit. By submitting an application, the applicant agrees to fully compensate the county for all legal and consulting services incurred by the County in the review process whether or not the application is approved.

All adjoining landowners will be notified of the application by the County. A public hearing will be conducted to consider any evidence presented by the applicant and any other interested parties. Specialists will be hired to assist the County as needed at the applicant’s expense.

The County shall approve the CAFO Permit only if a majority vote by County Board determines that the CAFO will protect public safety and welfare, prevent pollution and nuisances, and preserve the quality of life, environment, and existing small-scale livestock and other agricultural operations of the County.

The applicant must also prove that a CAFO with similar characteristics and operations has continuously operated for at least ten (10) years without causing pollution of groundwater or surface water, and without causing either a private or public nuisance. 

Additional conditions may be attached to a permit relating to the operations including: operational characteristics, management of animal and other waste, population and depopulation of animal housing facilities, biosecurity and animal health and welfare, transportation of animals, protection of wells, air emissions, property rights and values, permit compliance, and bonding to ensure funds are available for a pollution clean-up, nuisance abatement, and facility closure.  

Violation of the ordinance may result in fines of $100 to $5,000 per day plus prosecution costs.

This ordinance would apply to any CAFO wanting to operate in Bayfield County including any pending siting applications.

Download or print PDF of Executive Summary
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