News last update:Feb 25, 2016

Iowan hog farm's move to Bayfield meets opposition

A 24,000-head swine facility proposed for just south of Lake Superior is raising a few eyebrows in Bayfield County. Reicks View Farms of Lawler, Iowa, on December 19 submitted a preliminary Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit application to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources under the name Badgerwood LLC to set up a farrowing operation in the town of Eileen.

If realised, this would be Bayfield County's first concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO. An estimated 6.4 million gallons of manure would be produced annually by the farm's 100 boars; 7,500 sows; 4,125 pigs (55 pounds to market weight); and 14,625 piglets (less than 55 pounds). The farm eventually would have 6,500 animal units.

The farm has purchased about 560 acres on the corner of Franzel and Curry roads near Mason for more than $1.2 million. According to the Bayfield County Register of Deeds, the deal between Reicks View Farms and two private landowners closed last fall. Three barns would be built on the property for breeding, farrowing and development purposes. With the move from Iowa into Bayfield County Reicks wants to escape highly contagious swine disease known as porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDv.

Processing plant
Reicks View Farms has indicated that they plan to hire local workers and source locally-grown grain. Some smaller farmers who have had to travel long distances to get livestock processed are hopeful that a processing plant will move into the region, as well. Still, Reicks View Farms' proposal took many local residents by surprise. As is the case with most proposed large farms, it struck a nerve with those concerned about the environment and water quality. In response, county decision-makers this winter are considering adopting language to address farms with between 500 and 999 animal units.

Reicks View Farms is a fifth-generation operation established by Dale and Laura Reicks in 1979, according to the company website. Their production system has grown since then to include sow units, a boar stud, a nursery system and a finishing system, mostly in northeastern Iowa. The farm has more than 150 employees and 40 production partners, according to their website.

Source: Northlands News Center

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