News from around Wisconsin at 5:28 a.m. CDT

6/29/2015 4:45 AM
By Associated Press

Proposed hog megafarm causes stir in northern Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A proposed hog "megafarm" in northern Wisconsin is raising concerns among some residents that millions of gallons of pig manure will eventually wash off the land and pollute Lake Superior.

An Iowa business plans to produce thousands of pigs annually a few miles from Ashland and the shore of Chequamegon Bay. If plans are approved by state and federal regulators, the $17.7 million farm would be the largest hog farm in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1NohAoPhttp://bit.ly/1NohAoP ) reported.

The Bayfield County farm, which the owners are calling Badgerwood, also would become the largest concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO, in far northern Wisconsin, according to state officials.

There are currently no such operations in the Lake Superior basin. That could change if Badgerwood gets the go-ahead. An existing dairy farm in Iron County also has grown to the point that Department of Natural Resources officials say it, too, will qualify as such a facility.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it will review the project because of the size of the farm and concerns raised by Wisconsin American Indian tribes. The state DNR is expected to announce this week whether to require a lengthy environmental impact statement.

"What I want to know is why do they want to come here?" asked Mary Dougherty of Bayfield, who has been active in opposing the project.

Opponents are concerned about odors and the threat of water pollution from the 6.8 million gallons of liquid manure that will be spread annually on more than 800 acres in the White River and Fish Creek watersheds, which flow into Lake Superior.

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