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DNR Approves Permits for Rosendale Dairy Expansion
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/25/2010

One of Wisconsin's largest dairy operations has been given the go-ahead to get even bigger. On Friday, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources approved Rosendale Dairy's request to modify its water protection permit, which the farm needed before expanding its 4,000-cow facility to 8,000. The agency also cleared the way for the Fond du Lac County farm to increase its manure land spreading area to 12,000 acres.

According to the DNR, the modified permit contains the most restrictive conditions ever imposed on a farm in the 26-year history of the state's permit program for large farms.

"We've taken existing laws as far as they can go to assure that significant safeguards are in place to maximize protection for the environment," says DNR Runoff Management Coordinator Gordon Stevenson. "The permit imposes conditions over and above the requirements contained in permits issued to other large livestock operations."

As part of the conditions of the new permit, Rosendale Dairy will have extra limits on how much manure and commercial fertilizer can be spread on fields under different conditions. They must also meet a 200 foot well setback, which is twice as much as the laws requires for other farms. And the dairy will be required to conduct groundwater monitoring on a monthly basis.

As Wisconsin Ag Connection has reported earlier, the agency's decision puts the farm's original plans right on course. In September 2008, Rosendale Dairy announced a two-phase plan that would bring the operation to 4,000 dairy cows and 150 beef steers for a total of 5,750 animal units. The owners then had hopes of bringing that number up to 11,500 animal units by the fall of 2010. Under federal and state laws, farms with 1,000 animal units--which is the equivalent of 700 milking cows, 1,000 beef cattle, 2,500 feeder pigs, or 55,000 turkeys--are required to get certain permits.

Dairy business owners Jim Ostrom, John Vosters and Todd Willer are all partners in the venture.

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