200 Crawford County residents press for environmental impact study on La Farge hog-feeding plan

Wild Rose Dairy
(Wisconsin DNR photo)

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) — More than 200 Crawford County residents want state officials to prepare a full environmental impact statement on a proposed confined hog feeding operation in neighboring Vernon County that could generate almost 24 million gallons of manure and liquid waste a year.
On their behalf and as an advocate for others, Midwest Environmental Advocates submitted comments to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Monday outlining concerns related to a draft wastewater permit for the Roth II livestock operation.
The proposed permit for Wild Rose Dairy LLC, a concentrated animal feeding operation near La Farge, needs additional modifications or it will risk the region’s groundwater, surface water, soil health and nearby residents, according to the MEA submission and residents’ statements.
“We’re worried about what the expanded operation will do to the land and water in our area,” said Joan Peterson, a La Farge resident and neighbor of the dairy. “Wild Rose sits on Karst geology near very steep slopes. It’s hard to imagine a worse place for a large dairy operation.”
Among issues raising the concerns were manure spills that occurred at Wild Rose Dairy in 2017 and 2019. The 2017 spill involved an estimated 30,000 gallons and killed about 1,300 trout, while the 2019 mishap was about 10,000 gallons in which 400 fish perished, according to the DNR.
The environmental group’s submission came about a week after a DNR public hearing at which several community members spoke against the proposed permit.
The DNR is expected to consider and respond to public comments within the next two months.
The agency may deny the permit, issue it as proposed or modify conditions in response to public comments.