Dairy-Expansion Opponents Prepare for Permit-Renewal Hearing

A group opposed to the expansion of the Forestville-based S&S Jerseyland Dairy has developed a list of concerns in preparation for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) public hearing on the expansion, set for Feb. 7, 10 am, via Zoom. 

S&S Jerseyland Dairy is seeking to increase its existing operation from 7,654 animal units to 14,711. As listed in the DNR’s permit application renewal notice, the expansion would increase the amount of manure generated from 46,872,599 gallons, plus 1,216 tons of solid manure, to 95,267,281 gallons, plus 1,504 tons of solid manure.

The expansion plan is part of the farming operation’s Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit-renewal application with the DNR. If renewed, the permit would be good for another five years.

The opposition group, whose members are concerned about the expansion’s potential to negatively affect water quality, met for the second time Jan. 24 during a two-hour Zoom meeting hosted by the Friends of the Forestville Dam.

They said they doubted the DNR would deny the permit, but they hoped to persuade the state agency to add restrictions to it. One of those restrictions would be a cap on the number of animal units allowed, though those meeting Jan. 24 didn’t specify a number.

Christine Reid of the Friends of the Forestville Dam said they plan to ask the DNR to perform an environmental assessment before renewing the permit and to hold off on making a final decision until a public-health and groundwater-protection ordinance is in place in Door County. She addressed the Door County Board of Supervisors during its public comment period Jan. 24 about such an ordinance, similar to what has been enacted in Kewaunee County.

Tributaries within the Ahnapee River watershed, Lake Michigan drainage basin and groundwaters of the state are listed as receiving waters in the farm’s permit fact sheet put together by the DNR. The group pointed out that DNR-designated impaired waters in Door County include the Ahnapee River, and that the DNR has found Stony Creek and Sugar Creek to be contaminated with excess levels of phosphorus from sources such as agricultural pollution. 

Reid said group members expect additional truck hauling of manure because of the expansion, and they plan to object to that and the anticipated road damage caused by it.

The group has also brought up the charges, now pending, that the Wisconsin Department of Justice filed against the Wakker Dairy in Kewaunee County for allegedly exceeding the amount of manure that was allowed to be spread with the farm’s permit, and resulting in pollution discharges into tributaries leading to Lake Michigan. 

Reid said real-time reporting of manure spreading – instead of not being able to find out how much has been spread until months afterward – should be required for S&S Jerseyland Dairy’s permit to ensure accuracy and accountability.

The Peninsula Pulse left phone and email messages for Randy Schmidt of S&S Jerseyland Dairy seeking comment on the farm’s permit-renewal application, but he did not respond prior to the deadline for this week’s edition.

Register in advance at to join the DNR’s Feb. 7, 10 am, public hearing via Zoom.

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