By Tim Kowols
The possible expansion of a Kewaunee County dairy farm could be the center of another Department of Natural Resources hearing. El-Na Farms in Algoma has applied for the reissuance of its Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, which also included plans to expand the herd and build additional manure storage. Kewaunee County Board Supervisor Lee Luft has already contacted the DNR questioning if the area could handle the additional animals given the area’s geology and the expansion of two other nearby farms. El-Na Farms co-owner Lonnie Ferendael says the biggest misconception on the permit is when the expansion will take place and how many cows compared to animal units will be involved.
If approved, the permit would be effective from June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2022. You can read more about the permit and Luft’s request for a public hearing online with this story.
Email from Supervisor Lee Luft to Brad Holtz with the DNR
From: Lee Luft
Sent: Thursday, April 27, 2017 2:07 PM
Subject: From Lee Luft – Request for Hearing – El Na Farms
Please accept this message as my formal request for a hearing on the WPDES Permit for El Na Farms. My address is N4702 Lakeshore Drive, Kewaunee, WI 54216
Brad, my interest is to understand how an area encompassing Northwest Kewaunee and potentially Southwest Door Counties – an area that has some of the most vulnerable geology in Wisconsin – can accommodate still further herd count increases. In this El Na case, the animal unit count is intended to increase from 2,675 to 5,970 or an increase of 3,295 animal units or a 123% increase. Just across the border in Door County, S&S Dairy has also just been approved to increase its cattle herd size as well (from ~6,000 animal units to 10,000) and of course there is the fairly recent Kinnard Farm expansion with final terms still working their way through the courts – though the expansion is complete. Just the S&S and El Na expansions will add the equivalent human waste of 145,900 humans to this area and I’m not including the Kinnard expansion. We would not even consider letting the untreated wastes from cities totaling 145,000 people to be land applied in these areas but this is exactly what the DNR has and will most certainly approve from just these two EXPANSIONS. In addition, I want to understand what studies the DNR has undertaken to determine how this massive increase in waste application will impact groundwater and surface water conditions in Kewaunee County for our residents and to be certain these studies have been completed before these new expansions take place.
Lee Luft – Kewaunee County Board Supervisor