Op-Ed | A true quagmire


On this February day several years ago, the air was acrid and dirty with the stench of manure from industrial CAFOs near Algoma, Wis., where Dale and Mary Goodner live.


It’s August in northeast Wisconsin –– Dog Days. Sultry evenings in Kewaunee County are punctuated by acrid metallic smelling breezes and persistent passing tanker-loads of poop as industrial factory dairies eagerly eject endless effluents onto the land in a disposal practice they call “nutrient management.” Translated, this means clean, clear drinkable ground water is depleted through “high capacity” wells –– mixed with mountainous amounts of manure –– to be dumped back over the landscape. Included is human, as well as bovine waste.

Sewage equivalent to that generated from Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay is regularly strewn over Kewaunee County’s karst topography.

It finds its way into ground water, streams, rivers and Lake Michigan. This non-sustainable practice is enabled by those who disregard common sense and value the contributions from CAFO’s, meaning “concentrated animal feeding operations” or, more aptly, “concentrated animal Feces operations.”

The gradual erosion and contamination of northeast Wisconsin’s watersheds has been going on for a few decades and the impacts are evident. Wells throughout Kewaunee County have been contaminated by “nutrient management.” Aquatic ecosystems have become impoverished.

This is one of the impacts of industrial factory farming. From soil to water to air –– the concentration of animals into small acreage is essentially criminal. It destroys soil, depletes aquatic ecosystems and ruins ground water. Our prosperity should not impoverish posterity.

The solution is de-centralization. Return to small family dairy farms spaced over all of Wisconsin (thus spreading the wealth –– in more ways than one). The current 8,000 dairy farms need to be converted back to 80,000 small farms as it used to be.

This evening we could not sit outside because of the acrid stench of ‘nutrient’ being spread on the nearby fields.
Dale Goodner retired from the Peoria Park District where he had worked as a naturalist and administrator.

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