Jane Cowgill: Stop Daley Farms expansion
I was distressed to read in The Winona Daily News and the Winona Post that the Daley Farms on Hwy. 14 near Lewiston is proposing a huge expansion of its dairy operations, increasing its herd from 1,728 to 4,628 animals. The Daley Farms operation was already grandfathered in well over the large livestock limit set by Winona County, and now it will have to request a variance from the county for this kind of expansion. Such an expansion obviously ignores the purpose of the county limits in the first place: to protect air and water quality and to rein in large operations so that smaller family farms can compete in the market. This kind of farming is not appropriate for our area and pits the desires of a few against the interests of the citizens of the county.
This proposal to add almost 3,000 additional cows would make Daley Farms one of the 10 largest dairy farms in the state of Minnesota. The proposal would put it at 5,968 animal units, almost four times our Winona County animal unit cap. The operation would generate 46 million gallons of manure and wastewater a year. This would be a huge burden and potential danger for our local, high-risk karst topography. Furthermore, it would would use 92 million gallons of water a year. The water in Utica township (and in near by townships) would be endangered, and this in an area which already has many wells already polluted by nitrates.
Winona County should not grant a variance for this kind of expansion which violates its own rules, but, if it considers such a move, Daley Farms should be required to complete an Environmental Impact Statement, not just the far less rigorous Environmental Assessment Worksheet they have already completed.
Jane Cowgill, Winona