On Wednesday, July 8, 2020 the Polk County Environmental Services Committee held public hearings on the Proposed Amended Polk County Comprehensive Land Use Ordinances – CAFO Provisions within the Agricultural 20 zoning district.
Prior to the public hearings, Wisconsin Dairy Alliance reviewed the provisions in great detail and submitted written comments on the proposed changes.
Wisconsin Dairy Alliance President, Cindy Leitner, said, “While WDA supports Polk County’s efforts to engage in reasonable regulation of livestock operations, we believe it must be done in accordance with state law. As it is currently written, wherever the proposed revisions of the ordinance exceed the state’s uniform laws regulating livestock operations, those revisions are illegal and unenforceable.”
Just a few of the items in the proposed revisions that exceed current state livestock regulations include:
- The requirement to have CUP (Conditional Use Permits) applicants provide “air quality testing/studies”;
- The requirement that the applicant’s owner or operator live within five miles of the farm;
- The requirement that the applicant disclose any previous “livestock facility violations”;
- The requirement of spill notification to local officials;
A local governmental unit may enact regulations of livestock operations that exceed the performance standards, prohibitions, conservation practices and technical standards established under Wisconsin law only if the governmental unit demonstrates to the satisfaction of DATCP or the DNR that the more stringent standards are necessary to meet water quality standards. The proposed Polk County CUP is unenforceable as written as CUP conditions are more stringent than existing law and Polk County has not received DATCP or DNR approval. Polk County cannot legally compel farmers to comply without taking the necessary predicate steps for each and every requirement that exceeds state livestock standards.
CLICK HERE to read WDA’s written comments on the proposed revisions.