Rosendale Dairy Seeks to Become State’s Largest

Rosendale Dairy’s plan to double the size of its operation has sparked controversy in Fond du Lac County and around the state.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources held a public hearing Dec. 3 to gather input about the dairy owners proposal to expand from 4,000 milking cows to 8,000. The expansion would make it the largest dairy farm in Wisconsin’s history.

The owners are also seeking approval to spread wastewater over 13,000 acres, up from 5,600 at present, and reduce the frequency of groundwater monitoring from monthly to quarterly after two years.

In March the dairy received approval to expand to 4,000 cows and was the first dairy in the state to have to face the scrutiny of an environmental impact statement for that expansion. The dairy’s owners said that study cost them $550,000.

The DNR has indicated it will approve the expansion. It’s estimated that the farm would produce 46 million gallons of manure, waste equivalent to that produced by a city of 75,000 people. The environmental group Clean Wisconsin and other citizens concerned about the scale of the project have argued that the farm should have a wastewater treatment facility.

“It is inconceivable that a city of 75,000 wouldn’t need a waste water treatment plant; we should expect the same from Rosendale Dairy,” read a statement from Clean Wisconsin.